WWF-Australia has welcomed a long-awaited plan to ban harmful single-use plastic items in NSW and called on the state government to introduce legislation this year.
The NSW Government today announced its plan to finally phase out lightweight plastic bags, cotton-buds, expanded polystyrene foodware, straws, stirrers and single-use cutlery by 2022. Other items including heavyweight plastic bags, plastic plates, bowls, coffee cups and lids will be considered for action in the future.
“It’s been a long time coming, but today is a terrific outcome for the environment. We’re pleased to see NSW proposing bold action to stop some of the most problematic plastics from entering our oceans,” said Kate Noble, WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager.
“Plastic bags, straws and utensils are often discarded after a single-use, ending up in landfill or polluting our environment for hundreds of years.
“Banning these items is a simple and effective way to protect our beautiful beaches and marine wildlife.
“We’re also pleased to see polystyrene cups and takeaway containers included in the first wave of plastics to be banned. Expanded polystyrene is particularly dangerous when it enters our environment, due to its propensity to break down and flow into our oceans in lethal bite-sized pieces.
“NSW should turn this momentum into action and commit to introducing legislation this year. Our precious oceans and marine wildlife cannot afford to wait,” she said.
Ms Noble also called for the state government to prioritise its review of other problematic plastics, including heavyweight plastic bags, plates, bowls, coffee cups and lids.
“There are viable, sustainable alternatives to each of these items, so there’s no reason to delay action for another three years,” she said.
“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, so we must act quickly to solve this waste crisis.”
People can show their support for nature by urging states and territories to ban problematic plastics here: https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/plastics