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ACT Government proposes ban on coffee cups, straws and plastic cutlery

Lachlan Roberts 19 February 2019 138

The proposal is considering banning plastic cutlery and takeaway containers.

Seven years after the ACT banned single-use plastic shopping bags, the ACT Government is proposing to ban all single-use plastics, saying plastic bags are only one part of a much larger plastics problem.

Under the new proposal, ACT Minister for City Services Chris Steel wants to ban coffee cups, plastic cutlery, cups, straws, lightweight plastic bags, takeaway containers and cotton buds.

A recent review into the ACT’s plastic shopping bag ban said there is no easy solution to Canberra’s “plastic addiction” but estimated that plastic bags represent less than one per cent of the waste going to landfill in the ACT.

It is the Government’s ambition to have 90 per cent of waste being diverted from landfill by 2025, and Mr Steel believes a broader approach to single-use plastic is a logical approach to achieve that goal.

“Our fondness for single-use plastic, such as plastic cutlery, cups, straws, packaging and lightweight plastic bags, has grown considerably,” Mr Steel said. “It is estimated that 10 million straws are used in Australia every day, and can take up to 200 years to degrade into micro-particles.

“Plastic straws used today will outlive your children’s, children’s children.

“Single-use plastics, including but not limited to lightweight plastic bags, are an issue of both public and environmental concern.”

The ACT wants to follow in South Australia’s footsteps after it announced it would consider a single-use plastic ban last month. Mr Steel said South Australia has recognised that there is a clear benefit in addressing the related issues of single-use plastic bags and other single-use plastics, which is an approach the ACT Government supports.

Last year’s review into the Government’s plastic bag ban found the ban was reducing plastic use, but it raised questions over thicker plastic reusable bags, as well as compostable and cotton alternatives.

The report concluded that the ban has had a “marked impact on the ACT’s consumption of single-use plastic bags”, but that plastic consumption appears to be gradually returning to the levels seen prior to the ban’s introduction.

Mr Steel said plastic bags have become a symbol of Canberra’s ‘throwaway society’, and one of the benefits of banning plastic bags was to raise community awareness of broader environmental and sustainability issues.

The ACT Government will release a discussion paper to gauge community feedback around the proposal and will launch an information paper on moving beyond single-use plastics, including plastic bags in the coming months.

“I want the ACT community, businesses and industries to tell us how the ACT should address single-use plastics,” Mr Steel said. “We will consult with the community on banning these products or taking alternative regulatory or other measures.”


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138 Responses to ACT Government proposes ban on coffee cups, straws and plastic cutlery
Carrie Wright Carrie Wright 9:13 pm 19 Feb 19

It's a good initiative

Let's hope they get it right

Bottled water in plastic needs to go

Probably all drinks in plastic bottles need to go

Gwynn Mae Gwynn Mae 7:46 pm 19 Feb 19

Yes! Let's do it!

Dale Anderson Dale Anderson 7:27 pm 19 Feb 19

Elle...awesome!

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 7:04 pm 19 Feb 19

OMG people... we're literally drowning in plastic and it's increasing exponentially. What's to even discuss!!!! Far out!!

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 7:02 pm 19 Feb 19

It's a start

Warwick Alsop Warwick Alsop 6:56 pm 19 Feb 19

Given that plastic is a byproduct of petroleum refining if he very interested what people think we should do with it if we don't use it?

Also, Not a single straw used in Australia makes it into waterways {unless you are a foot and don't use bins) what problem are we actually solving here?

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:17 pm 19 Feb 19

    You are so wrong. Plastic straws are a major problem in waterways. MANY people don't give a ----- and just chuck them. If that wasn't so, they wouldn't be the problem they are in waterways. Just one link: https://www.ausleisure.com.au/news/far-north-queensland-tourism-operators-back-great-barrier-reef-plastic-stra/ All those water side cafes in tourist areas too.

    Warwick Alsop Warwick Alsop 10:36 pm 19 Feb 19

    Banning straws in Canberra isn't helping corals in the Pacific. Those ae likely all coming from Asian nations that just dump rubbish in the ocean. Maybe they should ban plastics?

    Frazer Beliito Brown Frazer Beliito Brown 11:58 pm 19 Feb 19

    We could stop refining petroleum and learn to type?

    Warwick Alsop Warwick Alsop 10:24 am 20 Feb 19

    Frazer Beliito Brown derrrp

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:36 am 20 Feb 19

    Warwick Alsop Ban plastics...you might be catching on. For the environment and future generations I certainly hope it won't stop at straws. Even if some of it comes from Asia that tired cop-out is just a lazy excuse not to care and do nothing. Straws, like other plastic can break down into micro beads. We also have waterways that can eventually wash plastic waste into the ocean. https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-08-05/plastic-straws-how-many-do-we-really-use-war-on-waste/10042990

    Warwick Alsop Warwick Alsop 12:58 pm 20 Feb 19

    Julie Macklin im not really against doing something about plastics. I'd just prefer that we focus on things that make a difference. Banning Cotton buds in the ACT is nothing but a pointless virtue signal from the government that bought us same sex traffic lights and limits on the amount of dogs you can legally walk. Meanwhile blokes are running people off the road in their 4wds and the police do nothing. Our hospitals are the worst in the nation and the government does nothing.

    I don't need your lectures about straws. I at least understand the issues.....

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:31 pm 20 Feb 19

    Warwick Alsop No one is saying other issues are not important, but this thread is about plastic.

Katy Skinner Katy Skinner 6:54 pm 19 Feb 19

Please make Shopping centres put out a big box for reusable shopping bags - of any denomination/brand. I used to do this informally with the clean, good condition bags in which donations to our charity were made. I put a box at Jammo, the Belco markets and a couple places- said ‘free bags’ and they were cleared out gradually: centre managers nevertheless pounced and removed. But it’s such a good recycling idea! Like Boomerang bags, except any clean bag will do. Saves you face-palming when you’ve left yours at home, etc.

    Brook Clinton Brook Clinton 10:10 pm 19 Feb 19

    Katy Skinner the IGA in Hackett has a bag swap where you can leave clean reusable bags. They run low often too

    Katy Skinner Katy Skinner 10:15 am 20 Feb 19

    Brook Clinton Waah!! I’ll be over there weekly with a replenishment!

    Clair Nunn-Furzey Clair Nunn-Furzey 11:57 am 20 Feb 19

    Cannons IGA in Googong also provide a bag reuse system, and all bags (including those for fruit and veg) are paper.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:28 am 22 Feb 19

    "Saves you face-palming when you’ve left yours at home," I don't know how someone can forget a bag when they go shopping. That's just an excuse, because really they don't care enough, as they can remember their money. So if you can remember your money, you can remember a bag, if you care. Have cloth bags in the car. Have another pile in the house ready to grab when walking/cycling/busing to the shops.

    Katy Skinner Katy Skinner 10:14 pm 22 Feb 19

    Clair Nunn-Furzey

    Sonya Mobbs Sonya Mobbs 12:15 am 23 Feb 19

    Katy Skinners read this for the first time the other day on my Coles loo paper... had no idea I could do this!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:36 am 23 Feb 19

    Sonya Mobbs Yes, but at present most is not being recycled. It's either being stored, going to landfill or possibly burnt. It used to be sent to China, but now they won't accept it. So better to avoid it if possible. I buy toilet paper in paper wrappers. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/06/28/623972937/china-has-refused-to-recycle-the-wests-plastics-what-now

Peter Evans Peter Evans 6:31 pm 19 Feb 19

Go for a walk around your nieghbourhood and see how much of this is dumped beside cycle paths or thrown out of cars. Especially near a takeaway. No wonder the place looks grotty. Street cleaners can't possibly keep up with it.

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 6:19 pm 19 Feb 19

Can’t believe I will have to go over the boarder for my cotton bud fix!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:13 pm 19 Feb 19

    I seem to remember that cotton buds used to be made from paper sticks with cotton on the end. Why can't they be made this way now?

Mark McEwen Mark McEwen 5:57 pm 19 Feb 19

Best news ever !! The EU are doing the same, as well as the Phillipines, Puerto Rico to name a few.. it’s a start of a global trend. Plastic was just a really bad idea and the environment has suffered terribly, we all survived before plastics.

Deborah Mesman Deborah Mesman 5:12 pm 19 Feb 19

Radical but the problem is too big for anything less.

Eric Tenthorey Eric Tenthorey 5:05 pm 19 Feb 19

They should ban fun too.

    Luckylegs Chris Luckylegs Chris 6:27 am 20 Feb 19

    Eric Tenthorey why not Eric. You are having way too much fun in the ACT.

Avril Pounds Avril Pounds 4:58 pm 19 Feb 19

More bubblers/water fountains/drink stations around Canberra.

    Gabrielle Eagles Gabrielle Eagles 5:59 pm 19 Feb 19

    Avril Pounds You are absolutely spot on....instead of the masses sucking on bought water out of a plastic bottle...

Kriso Hadskini Kriso Hadskini 4:44 pm 19 Feb 19

Saw an old guy get his cold cuts put in a tupperware he brought with him to the deli. Great idea..chances of me remembering such a thing? Nearly zero!

    Frazer Beliito Brown Frazer Beliito Brown 11:59 pm 19 Feb 19

    Kriso Hadskini maybe just try harder. "I can't remember" is a pissant excuse. You've noticed a really excellent solution, and one that's really easy to implement.

Peter Brundish Peter Brundish 4:39 pm 19 Feb 19

Why are they not looking at recyclable material like IKEA, using sugarcane to make things like spoons, forks and the like...

http://www.ecostore.com.au/pages/sugar-plastic

Maelinar Maelinar 4:26 pm 19 Feb 19

A recent review into the ACT’s plastic shopping bag ban said there is no easy solution to Canberra’s “plastic addiction” but estimated that plastic bags represent less than one per cent of the waste going to landfill in the ACT.

Less than 1% is hardly an ‘addiction’, its barely an ‘affiliation’. I’d possibly call it a ‘distant thought’.

The stated goal of the programme is to divert another 90% of material from landfill, so this approach appears to be kinda similar to taking a bucket to a bushfire. How are they planning on diverting the other 89% ?

How much will the plastic cutlery, cups, straws, packaging and lightweight plastic bags take up of this 89%

I’ve dug through the tip, all I remember seeing was discarded nappies, on nappies, on nappies. Even the contents of the nappies had rotted away and presumably gotten sucked into the methane farm. When are they going to take on the big tomale ?

Roslyn Mandelberg Roslyn Mandelberg 4:12 pm 19 Feb 19

Yes yes tes

Scott Hamley Scott Hamley 4:08 pm 19 Feb 19

I am proposing a ban on the ACT Government as they are definitely single use only

SP Brogues SP Brogues 3:58 pm 19 Feb 19

Brilliant news. Let’s do it!

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 3:43 pm 19 Feb 19

About time. Well overdue. Do it!!

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