NSW Plastics Plan 2023 - HAVE YOUR SAY

The NSW Government has released its Plastic Plan - Next Steps. The plan follows up on bans on straws, cutlery and other problem plastic items that were introduced in 2022.

With NSW languishing in 5th place behind Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT on reducing problem plastics. It's time for NSW to start catching up with the more active States and Territories.

NSW generates over 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year, with only 12% Ieing recycled!

Have Your Say Today on the next single use plastic phase outs here by filling in this survey https://yoursay.epa.nsw.gov.au/plastics-paper

Or you can provide your own submission by emailing [email protected]

Deadline is 4 February 2024.


The proposed plan aims to phase out problem and unnecessary single use plastics by 2025 and reduce overall litter by 60% by 2030 and plastic litter by 30% by 2025.

The NSW Plastic Plan does not propose any dates for phase-outs or actions. This is a major flaw. Other states have announced a schedule for their policy actions. The Plastic Plan should include a schedule for the introduction of the bans and actions, consistent with its goal of phasing out problematic single use plastics by 2025.

Avoiding and reducing single use plastic in the first place is essential. NSW should adopt a 20% single use plastics reduction target.

The Plan must include the promotion of reusable food ware through new policies and practices to encourage uptake. Setting a 30% reusable target will drive this forward.

The Boomerang Alliance is proposing a phase out of all disposable coffee cups/lids and food containers used for takeaway by 2027. A phase out of disposable coffee cups is currently being considered by other states. This should be included in the NSW Plastics Plan. This is consistent with many EU countries who are prohibiting disposable food ware for dine-in, requiring all takeaway retailers selling hot beverages and food to also offer reusable reusable cups and containers to their customers. A surcharge on disposable items for takeaway should also be introduced with proceeds to go to investment in public place reuse systems.

Supermarkets and other retailers should be encouraged to introduce returnable containers for food (e.g., at the deli) and for other suitable products such as bulk items, personal care and cleaning products. Delivery services should provide returnable crates and containers for their customers.

The Boomerang Alliance supports:

  • Phase out of single use cups, bowls with lids and food containers, plastic lollipop and ice cream sticks and other plastic food service sticks, single-serve condiment containers
  • Require all plastic drink bottles to have tethered lids
  • Introduced design standards to eliminate plastics in cigarette filters*
  • Ban PFAS chemicals in some food packaging
  • Phase out plastic microbeads in washaway cleaning products and remove degradable plastic products
  • Require all new washing machines to be fitted with a microfibre filter
  • Only allow plastic shopping bags if they meet a reusable standard and banning all plastic film shopping bags**
  • Ban the release of helium balloons, sticks and ties***
  • Phase out expanded polystyrene food trays, plastic barrier produce bags, stickers on fruit, pizza savers and plastic bread tag

The Boomerang Alliance wants to see these items added:

  • A range of plastic decorative items -often used outdoors and then littered- artificial halloween cobwebs, plastic confetti and glitter.
  • Banned plastic items in pre-packaged products (e.g., poppers) with all capped products required to have tethered caps
  • Ban PFAS chemicals in all food packaging-not limited to fibre-based food packaging
  • EPS loose fill packaging-this is banned under the Commonwealth plastic Plan but the practice continues
  • Lightweight plastic bags used in product packaging (online orders) and business to business packaging
  • Include single-use plastic bait bags, doggie waste bags and ice bags
  • Include single-use face masks
  • + plastic giveaway toys
  • + paper/plastic wipes
  • + non-home compostable (AS 5810) bin liners
  • + plastic food decoration (e.g., sushi)

*Cigarette filters are a problematic and avoidable single-use plastic. After consumption, cigarette butts are often the most littered item in NSW, with an estimated 1.3 billion littered annually. During a period of up to 15 years, they photodegrade, creating thousands of micro fibres and releasing toxic chemicals and heavy metals into the environment.

The World Health Organization has advised that cigarette filters provide no benefit to human health and are not required. Countries such as Belgium and Palau have also recently called for a ban on cigarette filters. We believe NSW should use the available legislation to design out this waste stream and lead the Commonwealth for a national ban and advocate for a global ban, as the Plastics Treaty negotiations continue.

**Only shopping bags that have been tested to a reusable standard should be available from retailers or labelled as reusable. The standard we propose is based upon an international practice that requires bags to be designed to accomplish at least 125 shopping cycles, with a minimum thickness-we recommend a minimum 90 microns consistent with overseas practice- and be manufactured using 80% recycled content or above. Broken bags should be able to be collected for recycling in-store.

***Helium balloons releases should be banned immediately. Mylar balloons banned from sale. Liaise with Commonwealth and other States/Territories to regulate the sale of helium for recreational purposes