The Western Australian Government released its Plan for Plastics yesterday. The plan sets out the government's plastics reduction plans for the 2020-26 period. More immediate plans include the phase-out of identified single use plastics and other SUPs in the medium term (see below). A key identified initiative is a Plastic Free Places program to be introduced in 2021.
We will be talking with the State Government to confirm their intentions as soon as we can.
Key excerpts from Plan for Plastics;
" The Plan for Plastics will be delivered over the short (2020 to 2023) and medium-term (2024-2026) and will be complemented by voluntary approaches.
Short-term actions to be implemented from 2020 to 2023 include the phasing-out of plastic:
- thick plastic bags
- polystyrene food containers
- helium balloon releases"
"Medium-term actions to be introduced from 2024 to 26 include the phasing-out of plastic:
- barrier/produce bags
- polystyrene packaging
- cotton buds with plastic shafts; and
- oxo-degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions)
The plan also includes actions on prepacked fruit and vegetables, takeaway food containers and plastic packaging."
In this Queensland election: Which party has the best policies on Plastics and Waste?
This last Term of Parliament has been significant, particularly for action to reduce plastic pollution. In 2017, the Queensland Parliament unanimously voted to introduce a lightweight plastic bag ban and establish a Container Refund Scheme for bottles and cans.
In this current parliamentary term both measures were introduced. To date, government data is showing that there has been a 70% reduction in plastic bag litter and a 54% reduction in container litter. Using your own bag when shopping is becoming the norm, whilst about 60% of beverage containers are now collected for recycling. Over 700 jobs have resulted from the Container Refund Scheme.
We still need to see a big improvement next year, as the CRS must increase the number of collection points to make it far more convenient for everyone, something very much required if a return rate of 85%+ by July 2022 is to be achieved.
However, Queensland has made a positive start on reducing litter and plastic waste. WWF in its recent assessment declared Queensland as the best performing state when it came to tackling the plastic problem. (WWF Plastic Scorecard 2020)
- The proposed ban on certain single use plastics such as straws, cutlery, and plates and bowls, including expanded polystyrene items.
- Food and Organics Collection services in every local government area that had a kerbside service
- Investment in new recycling infrastructure and business in QLD, with the government establishing a new purchasing policy to encourage more recycling
Queensland Labor will deliver a bill to ban the supply of certain single-use plastics and undertake further consultation to include expanded polystyrene products. Labor will also develop an Organics Waste Strategy by June 2021. The Labor Government has invested $100M in a Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.
Liberal National Party
The Liberal National Party supports phasing-out single use plastics and resource recovery initiatives such as banning batteries and e-waste from landfill, a solar panel recycling facility and a Centre of Excellence for Resource Recovery in QLD
The Queensland Greens support the proposed bans on single-use plastics and will strengthen the bill. A review of waste levy exemptions will be carried out to expand the amount of waste subject to the levy. They support the introduction of FOGO collections in every LGA and strongly support the waste export ban and investment in resource recovery in Queensland. The Greens oppose waste-to-energy facilities for mixed waste and have actively supported Ipswich locals in their campaigns to have these proposals stopped.
Authorised by Toby Hutcheon, Campaign Manager, Boomerang Alliance, 99 Devonshire St, Surry Hills 2010
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