State of Play: Single-Use Plastics Ban


PROPOSED SECOND TRANCHE (expected 2022-24)

(legislation passed in September 2020 with ban introduced on 1 March 2021)

  • plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery

  • compostable plastic items are included in the ban (for these listed products)
  • expanded polystyrene (eps) cup, bowl, plate and container, listed oxo-degradable products (2022)

  • (after further investigation) takeaway coffee cups, (thick) plastic bags and other food service items

(legislation passed in March 2021 with ban introduced 1 September 2021)

  • plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, eps cups and containers, oxo-degradable products

  • compostable plastics and other packaging items certified to the Australian standards (AS 4736/AS 5810) are allowed/exempt from the ban
  • coffee cups/lids, other plastic items and heavyweight plastic bags (after further analysis) - expected in 2022

  • Plastic Pollution Reduction Strategy allows for further additions in future

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (legislation was passed in March 2021 with ban introduced on 1 July 2021)

  • plastic cutlery, stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers

  • compostable plastic items are included in the ban (for these listed products)
  • plastic fruit/vegetable produce bags, oxo-degradable products, plastic straws (expected in 2022)

  • (in longer term) coffee cups and lids, plastic dinnerware, heavyweight plastics bags and cotton ear buds

  • enabling legislation allows for further additions in future

WESTERN AUSTRALIA (fast-tracked legislation being drafted and expected in 2021)

  • plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and bowls, expanded polystyrene food containers, heavyweight plastic bags, helium balloon releases
  • plastic fruit/vegetable produce bags, microbeads, expanded polystyrene packaging, coffee cups/lids, cotton buds with plastic shafts, oxo-degradable products (expected 2022)

  • Plan for Plastics allows for further additions in future

VICTORIA (ban to take effect in Feb 2023 after consultation)

  • balloon release is banned from 1 Jul 2021

  • single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks are banned

  • government agencies to ban by Feb 2022
  • awaiting further information

  • government plastics planning allows for further additions in future

NEW SOUTH WALES (NSW Plastic Plan legislation expected in 2021 with specified bans)

  • lightweight shopping bags banned (6 months after legislation passed)

  • plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, expanded polystyrene food service items, cotton buds with plastic sticks, microbeads in personal care and cosmetics (12 months after legislation passed)
  • plastic bowls and plates, cups, oxo-degradable plastics, fruit stickers, heavyweight plastic bags and produce bags (to be reviewed in 3 years)
  • EPR scheme for cigarette butts

TASMANIA (future intentions unknown)

  • no bans on identified single use plastics. At recent election in May 2021 State Government committed to a Plastic Plan with legislation to ban yet unidentified plastic items

  • (Hobart City Council has introduced a ban on certain items that includes compostable plastics that meet Australian, US or EU standards)

NORTHERN TERRITORY (future intentions unknown)

  • no bans on identified single-use plastics. The Territory Government is developing a new Waste Strategy that will include a plan for plastics

  • Darwin City Council banned disposable coffee cups, lids, straws, cutlery, plates, bowls and takeaway containers from use on council land in 2019. This includes the release of helium balloons






  • ban on single use plastic cotton buds, straws, plates, cutlery, stirrers, balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics, eps food/beverage containers and cups by 2021
  • compostable items allowed but not considered a solution
  • EPR schemes covering cost of collection, transport, treatment, clean up and education for food containers, packets, wrappers, cups and containers up to 3 litres, plastic bags and fishing gear by 2024

  • EPR scheme for cost of clean-up, education and data gathering for balloons and wet wipes and tobacco products by 2023

  • all beverage containers to have tethered caps (2024) 25% recycled content-PET (2025) 30% all types (2030) 90% collected by 2029

COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT (from National Plastics Plan 2021 and intended to complement state actions)

  • phase out polystyrene packaging, PVC labels and non-certified compostable packaging in 2022

  • support an international marine plastic agreement to curb global plastic pollution

  • establish government taskforce to examine options to reduce cigarette butt litter

  • establish consistent kerbside collection services by councils
  • require new washing machines to have filters to remove microplastics (by 2030)



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