New South Wales is phasing out single-use plastics this year, starting with the banning of lightweight plastic bags from June 1.
The ban is for any bag of 35 microns or less. This includes bags made from biodegradable, and compostable or bio-plastics because they do not breakdown without being specifically treated and add to the huge amount of plastic waste in the environment.
The ban does not apply to lightweight bags used for produce or deli items, bin-liners, human or animal waste or medical items.
Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says businesses and consumers need to be aware of the changes this year – as they apply to retailers, market stall holders, online sales, wholesalers and distributors as well as charities and fundraising events.
From November 1 the ban will extend to plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery, single use plastic plates and bowls and expanded polystyrene for take away food.
There are exemptions for straws for people with disability or medical needs.
Also from November 1 the ban applies to single use cotton buds and personal care products containing plastic microbeads.
“I welcome the move away from single-use plastics as NSW generates 800-thousand tonnes of plastic waste a year which is threatening our natural environment and killing our wildlife.
“These bans will prevent around 2.7 billion plastic items from entering the coastal marine and bushland environments over the next 20 years.
“There are many alternatives to single use plastics, including bringing reusable bags or using stock boxes at the supermarket, bringing your own cutlery for takeaway, and using products made from recycled paper, wood or bamboo,” Ms Saffin said.
The Department of Planning and Environment website has detailed information for business and consumers about how to prepare for the changes.