Canberra is set to reduce even more waste with the next phase of the Territory’s single-use plastics ban coming into effect next month.
Announcing the expansion, the Minister for Transport and City Services, Chris Steel said the third tranche of the single-use plastics ban is to happen in two stages, with the first stage to see single-use plastic plates and bowls, expanded polystyrene loose fill packaging and trays, and plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care and cleaning products banned from 1 July this year.
Mr Steel said the second stage, from 1 January 2024, would see heavyweight and boutique plastic bags banned.
“From January next year, plastic bags currently available at major supermarkets and retailers will be banned in a major win for the environment and our community,” Mr Steel said.
“There has been strong support for the shift away from single-use plastics and the transition to using more sustainable materials, which protect our local environment and reduce harmful waste going to landfill.”
He said other types of single-use plastics were included in the list of proposed items, however community and industry consultation identified that no suitable alternatives were currently available for these items.
“As a result, they have not been included in this ban but may be considered in the future as better substitutes are developed,” the Minister said.
“Industry also told us they need time to prepare for the ban, particularly in relation to banning additional plastic bags.
“The ACT Government has listened to this and the ban on heavyweight and boutique plastic bags will not start for six months and we have also put in place other appropriate exemptions for some other items.”
Mr Steel said the items now exempted from the ban included plastic takeaway containers, moulded expanded polystyrene packaging used for the packaging and protection of electronics, white goods, furniture and other bulky items, and plastic bowls with a lid.
He said a temporary exemption applied for plastic bowls and plates with a plastic lining or coating, “they will be exempted until 31 October 2024 to harmonise with bans and exemptions in other States such as NSW, QLD and VIC and to allow industry time to develop non-plastic compliant solutions.”
“A permanent exemption applies for plastic bowls used in medical, scientific or forensic circumstances, as alternatives can compromise health and safety.”