The Western Australia Government recently announced it was fast-tracking and expanding its ban on single-use plastics, with a ban that will now begin at the end of this year.
By December 31, 2021 the state government will ban plastic plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, and helium balloon releases.
In stage two, now to be completed by the end of 2022, plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads and oxo-degradable plastics will be banned – effectively bringing forward their full ban on plastics by four years.
The Western Australia government is also the first state to ban takeaway coffee cups and lids with single-use plastic materials, to be phased out in 2022.
The move was welcomed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
According to AMCS plastics campaign manager Shane Cucow:
“Just this year, we have seen shocking reports of turtles washing up on beaches with plastic in their stomachs. By bringing forward their plastics ban and committing to ban plastics such as straws, cutlery, plates and bowls by the end of the year, the McGowan Government has shown they are taking this crisis seriously.
“With their new commitments, WA will be the first to ban thick plastic bags, showing ocean lovers that this government is serious about stopping plastic bags from hurting wildlife.
“We commend Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson and the McGowan Government for being the first in Australia to commit to a ban on takeaway coffee cups and lids containing single-use plastics.”
Cucow said eyes are now on Tasmania and the Northern Territory, the only states and territories without a plan to ban problem single-use plastics:
“Every day we wait, we lose more animals to the scourge of plastic pollution. With every other state moving to ban notorious plastics like straws, cutlery and polystyrene, it’s time for Tasmania and the Northern Territory to act.”