What you need to know about the single-use plastic ban

The ban starts today
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Today The NSW Government is banning more plastics as they have announced that plastic packaging and single-use plastic items make up around 60 per cent of all little in NSW. 

A campaign launched in September 2022 ahead of the ban that displayed shocking images of plastic pollution in the ocean and a turtle choking on a plastic bag. Environment Minister, James Griffin, said the ‘Stop it and Swap it’ campaign aims to remind people about the dangers of plastic.

WATCH: Why plastic bags need to be banned

What plastics are banned? 

  • Plastic straws
  • Stirrers
  • Cutlery
  • Plates
  • Bowles
  • Cotton buds
  • Food ware 
  • Cups made from polystyrene
  • Microbeads in personal care products 

The new ban follows the ban on single-use plastic bags which came into practice on June 1.

WATCH: Plastic Bag Ban

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Why are single-use plastics banned? 

Most plastics are made to only be utilised once before being thrown away. After the piece of single-use plastic has been used, it often ends up in landfills, by the sides of the road, in parks, and floating in the ocean. 

According to WWF Australia, Australia produces almost 3 million tonnes of plastic per annum and up to 130,000 tonnes of Australia’s plastic will wind up in the ocean as plastic pollution each year. 

Not only does plastic end up in our oceans but it also never completely breaks down. It takes around 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill and the bag will never break down completely but instead photo-degrade. The plastic turns into microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.

Most plastics are made to only be utilised once before being thrown away. (Credit: NSW Government)

How will businesses stop using single-use plastics? 

The NSW Government engaged the National Retail Association (NRA) to provide education and support to more than 40,000 businesses and community organisations to implement the changes.

The NSW Government has also partnered with Great Plastic Rescue to collect excess stock from small and medium businesses for recycling and remanufacturing into new items.

WATCH: Rich Horner – British diver films sea of rubbish off Bali

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What isn’t banned?

There will be a range of plastic items that NSW will still be able to use. These include salad servers/tongs; coffee cups; plastic bowls with a spill-proof lid; bin liners; animal waste and nappy bags; deli bags; and bags used for medical items. 

Exceptions also include providing plastic straws to people with a disability or medical need. There is also an exemption for plastic-lined paper plates and bowls until alternatives are sauced. 

(Credit: NSW Government)

Will I be fined if I use banned plastic? 

Businesses that do not follow the ban could be hit with an on-the-spot fine of $2750 or up to $11,000 in penalties for individual suppliers.

A maximum of $55,000 penalty is possible for corporations and a maximum of $110,000 for manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.

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