From today 1 September, plastic stemmed cotton buds, plastic microbeads and polystyrene loose fill packaging will be banned in Queensland. The plastics used in these products are all problem wastes and alternatives exist for all these items. It will be interesting to see how the loose fill polystyrene packaging rules work, given that these are not national requirements. Certainly suppliers in Queensland will not be able to use polystyrene for Queensland customers.
Of huge significance is the ban on the deliberate release of helium balloons, of any number. Helium balloons are a huge threat to wildlife when they fall back to earth. In Queensland they have had a terrible toll on seabirds and turtles.The Boomerang Alliance is calling on other States to follow the Queensland example.
Finally, heavyweight plastic shopping bags are now banned from retail. Plastic bags offered by retailers must now pass a reusables test to prove they can be used at least 125 shopping cycles, and are made from a minimum 80% recycled materials.
This new test is the first time that a State has required that a bag must be designed to meet a specific multiple use number. Over the next few months, the Boomerang Alliance will be monitoring whether retailers are complying with these rules and if we see more consumers bringing their own bags when shopping.