What’s happening on November 1?

Lightweight plastic bags have already been banned in NSW as of June 1 but now the more single-use plastic items have been phased out:

These items include:

  • Straws
  • Cutlery including chopsticks and sporks
  • Single-use stirrers
  • Bowls and expanded polystyrene bowls
  • Plates and expanded polystyrene plates
  • Cotton buds
  • Polystyrene foodware, cups, and clamshell containers
  • Microbeads in personal care products like face and body cleansers, exfoliants and masks.

The ban concerns both products that are sold or given away for free.

It applies to both “traditional” plastic like cutlery but also biodegradable, compostable, or bio-plastic alternatives.

“This is because most items made from compostable plastic and bioplastic do not biodegrade unless they are specifically treated in a commercial composting facility,” the government said.

What’s not banned?

A range of items will remain in use including serving utensils like salad servers or tongs, coffee cups, plastic cups, plastic bowls with a spill-proof lid, polystyrene meat or produce trays and packaging.

Bin liners, animal waste and nappy bags also will remain in circulation alongside produce or deli bags and bags used for medical items.

What happens if a business still uses single-use plastics?

NSW’s environmental regulator can issue fines to businesses supplying banned plastic items however this won’t be their first action.

The Environmental Protection Agency will firstly educate businesses and raise awareness about the new bans and urge compliance.

If that doesn’t work, then on-the-spot fines can be issued of up to $1100 for individual businesses and $5500 for corporations.

If the matter goes before court, fines can reach tens of thousands of dollars.

Individuals can’t be fined for using a banned single-use plastic item.

Are there exemptions to the single-use plastic ban?

Yes. There are a few limited situations where prohibited items are exempt from the ban.

Single-use plastic straws, for example, can still be provided to people who need to use them due to a disability or other medical need.

There’s also an exemption for plastic-lined paper plates and bowls, which can be supplied while alternatives are sourced, and cotton buds and plastic bowls can be used in medical, scientific and forensic circumstances.

That latter exemption will be reviewed by the Environment Protection Authority in November 2024, while the plastic-lined paper plates and bowls will be banned for good on October 31, 2024.

What alternatives are available?

There are plenty of alternative products available to replace the soon-to-be-banned items.

For the most part, there are bamboo or other wooden equivalents of most of the single-use plastics, such as cutlery, stirrers and bowls and plates, while there are also cardboard and paper alternatives for plates, cups and other food containers.

Straws can be a little trickier, but there are still non-plastic alternatives made of metal, silicone and other materials.

What’s the advertising campaign about?

NSW residents will soon see some confronting images of plastic pollution in the ocean to raise awareness about the incoming plastic ban and the damage to the environment.

Shocking images of a turtle choking on a plastic bag, dead fish and masses of plastic in the sea will be broadcast across print, social media, and TV.

Environment Minister James Griffin said the “Stop it and Swap it” campaign aims to remind residents about the dangers of plastic.

“About 95 per cent of the litter on beaches and waterways comes from suburban streets, and the vast majority of that litter is single-use plastic,” he said.

“The amount of plastic in our oceans is predicted to outweigh the amount of fish by 2050.

“That is a horrifying prediction and a call to action to ensure our wildlife, like the turtle featured in the campaign, can have a brighter future.”

Why is the NSW government banning single-use plastics?

The ban is a policy designed to protect the environment.

In NSW, single-use plastics make up 60 per cent of all litter.

The government estimates about 40 per cent of that litter ends up in marine environments.

The items break up into smaller pieces which can be ingested and injure wildlife, and can even enter the human food chain.

“The NSW plastic bans are just the beginning of our massive shift away from single-use plastic,” Griffin said.

“They’ll prevent 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment over the next 20 years.”

The policy also has overwhelming public support.

According to the government, 98 per cent of the 16,000 submissions it received about plastic bans were supportive.


Source: https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-single-use-plastic-ban-whats-banned-not-banned-november-1-explainer/cf6470ed-a263-4e0a-bd45-f2651aacf3a1