2 December 2020

Bill will mean government can declare events single-use-plastic-free

| Ian Bushnell
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Single-use plastic

The ban will include plastic cutlery from July next year. Photo: File.

The ACT Government will become the first in Australia to be able to declare public events single-use plastic-free under a bill to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly today (2 December).

The legislation to begin banning single-use plastics, delayed by the pandemic, will come into effect from July 2021, and cover cutlery, drink stirrers and polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers.

It will pave the way for the banning of other single-use plastic products as part of a phased approach.

Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the government would also be able to ban single-use plastics from public events such as Floriade, music festivals and sporting matches with three months’ notice, as long as there are alternative products available and it does not have an unreasonable impact on the event.

“This means single-use plastics could be banned at both government and non-government events, including a wider range of plastic items than those prohibited for the general community,” he said.

Mr Steel said the phase-out would expand in 2022 to items such as straws, barrier bags for fruit and vegetables, as well as all products made from degradable plastic.

“Items such as plastic-lined single-use coffee cups and lids, single-use plastic dinnerware, boutique or heavyweight plastic bags, and cotton ear buds with plastic sticks are currently under consideration by the ACT Government for future phase-outs from 2023 onwards,” he said.

There will be exemptions, such as for people with a disability who need to use straws will still be able to obtain and use them.

The legislation provides for enforcement and penalties, and inspectors will have right of entry to businesses, although the government says it wants to take an educative approach with business.

Under the legislation, from July 2021, it will be an offence to supply a prohibited plastic product, with penalties of up to 50 penalty units and infringement notices available.

But it will not be an offence to supply a prohibited plastic product in a non-business setting, for example, from a parent to a child at a picnic.

The government says public consultation on the legislation showed strong community backing for banning single-use plastics.

Mr Steel said the legislation sought to reduce Canberrans’ use of plastic and reduce its impact on the environment and the ACT’s waste management and resource recovery systems.

“Single-use plastic products cannot be economically recycled and these resources end up in natural environment and our land-fill. This Bill sends a strong signal to the community that we need to move away from single-use plastic and to a circular economy,” he said.

Mr Steel said it was time for businesses to start moving away from supplying single-use plastic products, and the government had allowed time for them to do so before the legislation comes into force.

”They should do so by using up existing stocks of single-use plastic, and purchase and transition to alternative products if necessary,” he said.

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HiddenDragon7:46 pm 02 Dec 20

“Under the legislation, from July 2021, it will be an offence to supply a prohibited plastic product, with penalties of up to 50 penalty units and infringement notices available.”

Here we go again, with heavy-handed regulation and enforcement by a government of control freaks.

Surely a “smart”, circular economy approach would be to recycle (other) single use plastics into election corflutes, and vice versa (ear buds could be recycled as ear plugs for election campaigns).

Slightly more seriously, if the problem really is such as to warrant this sort of legislation, it should be the default approach to public events, not case-by-case at the whim of officials.

Capital Retro1:32 pm 02 Dec 20

I’m surprised the government isn’t considering banning bubble wrap which is destined to become the new plastic bag. It’s the favourite packing for on-line shipments now and it has little potential for reuse.

Popcorn. I have had that arrive used as packaging. Old fashioned (while they still exit) newspapers work too.

Capital Retro11:38 am 03 Dec 20

Err, “popcorn’? I think you are on the wrong thread Maya23 – try the one about vegans, perhaps?

About time this happened. Well done.

The ACT government once again focusing on the big issues.

Well done, not like there are more important things to be done.

It is a big issue, waste. It has to be dealt with. It doesn’t end at our garbage bins.

Maya,
Yes waste in general is a big issue.

Randomly banning a tiny amount of things that are useful but contribute to that waste is not smart, nor does it achieve much of anything overall.

The only thing it does achieve is make the ACT government look even more stupid than usual. And that’s a difficult proposition.

Plastic is a huge amount of waste. McDonalds say they are going to phase out plastic cutlery by year’s end, saving as much as 585 tonnes of waste every year. That’s one business. So they are ahead of the game here it appears.
https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/mcdonald-s-to-phase-out-plastic-cutlery-by-year-s-end-20200302-p545z9

I couldn’t find anything about plastic utensils in Australia, but this article says, “Some estimates put the number of individual plastic utensils wasted at 40 billion per year in the United States alone. After just one single use, most of them are thrown out and end up in landfills and in our waterways. ”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauratenenbaum/2019/07/16/plastic-cutlery-is-terrible-for-the-environment-and-we-dont-need-to-have-it-delivered/?sh=19556d344019

SA is also banning single use plastic.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/06/leading-the-country-south-australia-to-ban-plastic-cutlery-straws-and-stirrers
“It said about 8m tonnes of plastic ended up in the ocean each year, describing this as “equivalent to dumping the contents of a garbage truck each minute”.”

You might consider this “a tiny amount of things”, but the problem is actually huge.

I don’t know why plastic straws were not included in the first ban. Many cafes have already changed to paper straws.

“Inspectors will have the right of entry to businesses”

So, warrantless searches?

“Penalties of up to 50 penalty units”

Making giving somebody a straw a criminal offence?

And so the march toward becoming a dictatorship continues for the Labor/Greens communist alliance. Stalin would be proud.

Yet Canberrans keep voting them in. I know I’ll be shot down by everyone saying that the Labor/Greens are doing a great job but just look at the schmozzle Health is atm. And don’t even start me on the jail!

Compliance officers for any number of industries have right of entry without a warrant too.

Nothing to do with police state, Stalinist state or anything. Usual way things operate throughout the country and world.

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