The Queensland Government has released a statewide Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan, which includes a proposal to ban single-use plastics, as part of the state’s next phase of the war on waste.
Minister for Environment and Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch released Queensland’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan, which sets out the proposed way forward for dealing with single-use plastics.
Enoch said there is a growing concern among Queenslanders about the amount of plastic being used in everyday life.
“Majority of Queenslanders (seven out of 10) already take steps to reduce their use of single-use plastics, but there is always more we can do to tackle pollution.
“Both government and the community need to work together and while research shows Queenslanders are on board with tackling plastics, we will undertake extensive consultation with the community on this issue.
“This plan is an Australian first in its scope and structure, and takes a holistic approach to the complex nature and impacts of plastic throughout its supply chain, and identifies actions that can be taken.
“One of these actions is to introduce legislation next year, subject to consultation through a Regulatory Impact Statement, to ban the supply of plastic products including plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers.
“And, we will also conduct an analysis to possibly extend the ban down the track to include coffee cups, plastic cups and heavy-weight shopping bags.”
Enoch said other actions the government was taking included banning specific single-use plastic items from Queensland Government sponsored events.
“We recognise there are some instances where banning plastics is not feasible – such as people with a disability who have not found bamboo, paper or metal alternatives suitable.
“This is why we will undertake extensive consultation to ensure these needs are appropriately understood and addressed, and put in place exemptions in this regard.”
Enoch said where appropriate, it is possible to stamp out single-use plastics.
Other actions in the Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan include increasing the uptake of recycled plastic materials in new products and investing in plastic recovery and reprocessing.
“We will also identify and develop new businesses and markets to transform the way plastic is recovered, reused and recycled—creating new jobs and industries for Queensland,” she said.
Boomerang Alliance are delivering the successful Plastic Free Places model in Noosa, Cairns and Townsville with funding from the Queensland Government.
Queensland Boomerang Alliance Manager Toby Hutcheon said the Noosa trial was enormously successful with more than three million single-use plastic items, such as straws, coffee cups and lids, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and takeaway containers eliminated in the past 18 months.
“The program works by signing up cafes, food outlets and events to work with a dedicated program coordinator towards eliminating their single-use plastic items and/or switching to biodegradable options.
“The success in Noosa and the cafes signing up in Cairns and Townsville, shows the program works – there is no reason the whole state can’t go plastic free.”
The Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan can be found here: www.qld.gov.au/plasticreduction
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