Nine single-use plastic items have begun to be phased out in Western Australia from 1 January 2022. This includes plastic bowls, cups for cold beverages and hot foods, plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, expanded polystyrene food containers, thick plastic bags and helium balloon releases.
“It is time for Western Australia to take the next step towards a single-use plastic-free future,” WA Environment Minister Reece Whitby said.
“Our state has a strong track record on plastics and was named the top jurisdiction in Australia for its work on plastics by WWF Australia for two years in a row.”
A six-month transition period will allow businesses to use up supplies and adapt to the changes for all items, except for cups which will have an extended transition period to 1 October 2022 to allow time to source alternatives.
In June, the WA government fast-tracked its Plan for Plastics by up to four years, leading to a range of single-use plastics being phased in from 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2023.
A community education program began this month to raise awareness of the single-use plastic bans and to support the community to adapt to the bans.
A state-wide Plastic Free Places Program will begin in March creating partnerships with local governments, marketplaces, shopping centres, businesses, industry and community organisations to become single-use plastic free.
“With Stage One of the Plan for Plastics coming into effect, it’s time for all Western Australians to think about the small changes they can make to their behaviour by adopting alternatives to single-use plastics and choosing to reuse,” Whitby said.
“The community has shown overwhelming support for moves to reduce single-use plastics; the time has come for us to back that sentiment up with action.”
Retailer and supplier education will be implemented from early 2022 to further support industry to adapt by changing to reusable or non-plastic single-use alternatives across the supply chain.
People that require single-use plastic straws to maintain their quality of life will receive a continued supply on request with food or beverage or for sale at select locations.
Stage Two of the Plan for Plastics will begin on 1 January 2023 and will include bans on plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, oxo-degradable plastics, bowl and cup lids, polystyrene cups and coffee cups.