September spells end to single-use plastics in Queensland

By Melissa Coade

September 2, 2021

From this month, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls will no longer be provided for free from take-away vendors in QLD.
From this month, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls will no longer be provided for free from take-away vendors in QLD. (photka/Adobe)

From this month, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls will no longer be provided for free from take-away vendors in Queensland.

The ban is part of the state government’s goal of reducing single-use plastic pollution by 20% over the next two years.

In a statement on Wednesday, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that that banning businesses from giving away complimentary single-use plastic,  including expanded polystyrene containers, would prevent more rubbish ending up on beaches and waterways.  

The single-use plastics ban is part of Queensland’s ‘war on waste’ initiative that is also focused on improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“Half of all plastics are only designed to be used once. That has led to more than 75% of the waste removed from our beaches being made of plastic,” the premier said.

“Preventing [added pollution] will protect animals like turtles, which alone have a 20% chance of dying if they ingest just one piece of plastic.”

Public support for single use plastic ban is strong, Palaszczuk suggested, with surveys showing a 70% reduction in all plastic bag litter since Queensland introduced a bag ban at the start of 2018.

Through the state’s Containers for Change program, over four billion containers have also been exchanged.

Queensland environment minister Meaghan Scanlon said that work with small businesses was already underway, with the government assisting small and large retailers to prepare for the ban in the last three months. 

“With the economy and jobs now growing and recovering from the impacts of COVID-19 thanks to our economic recovery plan, so too is our environment with the ban of even more single-use plastics,” Scanlon said. 

According to National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb businesses have been preparing to transition to the use of more sustainable and reusable items. The association has visited over 300 shopping centres across Queensland, Lamb said, providing resources and advice to shops such as cafes, restaurants, food outlets, discount stores, supermarkets, party suppliers and markets.

“Even though many retailers have been doing it tough during the pandemic, the response has been overwhelmingly positive with retailers keen to do their bit for the environment,” Lamb said. 

“With the ban arriving soon, we encourage consumers to support these businesses by bringing reusable utensils when possible, or just being prepared that the options we provide are a little different now.”


READ MORE:

Vic government agencies to phase out single-use plastic products by 2022

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