NSW to ban single-use plastic bags from June 1, more plastic items from November

Home Economy NSW to ban single-use plastic bags from June 1, more plastic items from November
NSW to ban single-use plastic bags from June 1, more plastic items from November

A common item will disappear from stores next week, marking a major change for shoppers as a state government prepares to make some major rule changes.

NSW shoppers will no longer be able to buy single-use plastic bags from next week, as a ban on soft plastics comes into effect.

The ban is part of a plan to prevent environmental destruction caused by plastic items ending up in the garbage.

The lightweight plastic bag ban comes into effect next Wednesday, June 1, and from November other plastic items will be banned.

Those include single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and cotton buds.

Polystyrene foodware and cups are also among the items being banned from November.

“The reason we’re doing that is because it will stop plastic getting into our environment at the source,” Environment Minister James Griffin said on Monday.

“This single step will remove 2.7 billion items of plastic waste from our environment over the next 20 years.”

Officials will enforce the ban with the threat of hefty fines, targeted at businesses and distributors of the forbidden plastics.

The fines will range from $11,000, for a sole trader who breaks the rules, to a maximum of $275,000 for a corporation failing to comply with a stop notice.

“We’re principally going after distributors of plastics,” Mr Griffin said.

Major grocery stores have already begun to phase out the sale of some plastic items, like picnic cutlery, replacing them with compostable alternatives.

The NSW government has previously said only 10 per cent of plastics in the state are recycle, while the rest end up in landfill.

About 60 per cent of all litter in NSW is made up from plastic packaging and other single-use plastic items.

The National Retail Association said last year all other Australian states and territories already had bans on lightweight plastic bags.

South Australia was the first to introduce such a ban in 2009.

“Phasing out plastic bags will be relatively easy, but the next stage will be a bit more challenging for some,” NRA policy manager Ebony Johnson said.

“We need NSW consumers to get ready for paper straws and wooden cutlery.”

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