The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia has welcomed a plan to ban problematic single-use plastics including plates, cutlery and thick plastic bags in Western Australia, and is calling on the state to introduce legislation as soon as possible.
The WA Government today announced it will ban plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, polystyrene food containers, thick plastic bags, and the release of helium balloons by 2023. Other single-use items such as plastic barrier/produce bags, microbeads, cotton buds, and oxo-degradable plastics will be phased out by 2026.
This commitment sees Western Australia overtake Queensland, South Australia and the ACT to claim the top spot on WWF-Australia’s plastics scorecard
, which rates the performance of states and territories in tackling single-use plastics.
WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager, Katinka Day congratulated Western Australia for recognising the impact these plastic items have on nature.
“It’s terrific to see WA leading the way in phasing out some of the most littered plastics found on our beautiful beaches. Plastic plates and utensils are often discarded after a single-use, ending up in landfill or polluting our environment for hundreds of years,” said Ms Day.
“Banning these items is an effective and simple way to protect our marine wildlife and reduce the amount of plastic entering our oceans and the places we love.”
Ms Day called for the government to prioritise its new plan and introduce legislation into parliament in 2021 rather than the planned 2023 implementation date.
“Western Australia should turn this momentum into action and commit to introducing legislation next year. Our precious oceans and marine wildlife cannot afford to wait,” she said.
“As we look at how we’re going to emerge from the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s really important we don’t forget about the huge impact plastic has on our environment.
“An estimated 130,000 tonnes of plastic flows into Australia’s environment each year. That’s the equivalent of more than two Titanic ships of plastic entering our oceans and waterways, and plastic dumped in one region can travel and impact others. This is a global disaster that requires collective action.”
People can show their support for a ban on the 10 worst single-use plastics here: https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/plastics