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

Ian Bushnell 2 December 2020 26
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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26 Responses to Bill will mean government can declare events single-use-plastic-free
Elizabeth Martin Elizabeth Martin 10:53 pm 04 Dec 20

All these comments that indicate they couldn’t even read the headline. It’s for public events - ie Floriade, Enlightened - some vendors have been using bamboo for years.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:46 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.

Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) Inc Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF) Inc 3:16 pm 02 Dec 20

Please note that single use chopsticks are made of bamboo!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:32 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.

    Maya123 Maya123 8:59 pm 02 Dec 20

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

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:38 am 03 Dec 20

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

Talia Liolios Talia Liolios 12:49 pm 02 Dec 20

Rachel Coggan read FOC lol

Elizabeth McLennan Elizabeth McLennan 11:58 am 02 Dec 20

Hmmmm, so what will the airlines do?

No metal cutlery and no plastic cutlery.

Do we go back to using our fingers?

    Andrew Dale Andrew Dale 12:01 pm 02 Dec 20

    Elizabeth McLennan everyone will be using wooden / bamboo cutlery. It's been avaliable for years.

    Elizabeth McLennan Elizabeth McLennan 12:12 pm 02 Dec 20

    Andrew Dale oh good, I hadn’t thought of that 😊

    Andrew Dale Andrew Dale 8:29 pm 02 Dec 20

    Probably more actually. It's $10 for 1000 plastic forks. I think it $40 - 50 for wooden forks. Oh well we will all have to incorporate it into the selling price. The best way to buy them is in pre pack form. Buy single forks and knife & fork packs. Yes it costs more, but you sell accordingly and especially in the covid times most people will accept it with open arms. After all we are only talking about 10 cents or so

    Lucian Burca Lucian Burca 12:31 am 03 Dec 20

    Elizabeth McLennan in the last 6 years while I was flying with Qatar and Emirates it was metal cutlery on board.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 10:55 am 02 Dec 20

I usually avoid events, but I think I just found my next challenge: smuggling in my illicit plastic cutlery to some event and using it to cut up and eat the apple in my plastic bag, while I wait for the Plastic Police to pounce.

    Andrew Dale Andrew Dale 12:02 pm 02 Dec 20

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart your my hero

    Matt White Matt White 12:13 pm 02 Dec 20

    or you could do something cool, clever or funny instead, maybe even throw in something useful to society and the planet...

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 4:27 pm 02 Dec 20

    He worked for Candice Burch. As if he would actually want to contribute to society

    Julia Ross Julia Ross 8:08 pm 02 Dec 20

    Nick James funny, so's mine.

Maya123 Maya123 10:32 am 02 Dec 20

About time this happened. Well done.

chewy14 chewy14 9:32 am 02 Dec 20

The ACT government once again focusing on the big issues.

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

ssek ssek 9:25 am 02 Dec 20

“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.

    jwinston jwinston 12:30 pm 02 Dec 20

    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!

    JC JC 7:04 pm 05 Dec 20

    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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