26 September 2023

New rules to bag plastic for the environment

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Picking up a takeaway meal could become a BYO bag situation as the State prepares for the first phase of its single-use plastic ban to come into effect in June.

Welcoming the change, Minister for the Environment, James Griffin said the supply of lightweight plastic shopping bags is to cease from 1 June.

Mr Griffin said the ban would involve significant change for consumers and business, which would require Government and community support.

He said to support the transition, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) had partnered with the National Retail Association (NRA) to co-design and deliver a campaign to help businesses move away from single-use plastics.

“Almost every piece of plastic ever made is still with us,” Mr Griffin said.

“More than 2.7 billion plastic items end up in NSW waterways each year – wreaking havoc on the environment and endangering wildlife,” he said.

“To protect our environment we’re getting rid of certain single-use plastics later this year and this campaign will help ensure NSW businesses are ready to go.”

Mr Griffin said customers would also need to prepare for changes when collecting takeaway or making purchases, particularly when they usually received straws, foodware or cutlery.

The Minister said the supply of single-use plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, plates and bowls, cotton buds, expanded polystyrene food containers and products containing plastic microbeads would be banned from 1 November.

“Exemptions will apply to people who rely on certain plastic products for disability or health reasons,” he said.

In a statement, DPIE said lightweight bags made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics or bio-plastics would be included in the ban, including those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.

It said the ban would not apply to barrier bags such as produce and deli bags; bin liners; human or animal waste bags; or bags used to contain items for medical purposes.

Further information on the single-use plastics ban can be accessed at this PS News link.

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