21 October 2019

Government pushes out plastics consultation findings

| Ian Bushnell
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Singleuse plastics

The community’s clear message is that it wants to see the end of single-use plastics. Photo: File.

Only days after the ACT Greens called on the Government to commit to banning single-use plastics, the Government has released the findings of its public consultation on the issue that show strong support for legislative action.

Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel said the Government was already developing a policy for phasing out single-use plastics in the ACT including coordinating with other jurisdictions and considering the impact the loss of certain products might have, such as plastic straws used by some people with a disability.

Mr Steel said the findings show that a huge majority of the community backed strong government regulatory action to ban problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics, rather than just non-regulatory responses.

“Canberrans strongly held the view that action needs to be taken to phase-out single-use plastics with a transition to readily available alternatives,” Mr Steel said.

“We benchmarked the results of the consultation, and there were high levels of support for action across both the general community and those who responded directly to the consultation.”

But Canberrans also understood that a pragmatic approach may be needed on plastic products where there were not well-developed alternatives.

Of those who responded to the consultation community survey (definite or probable support) more than 90 per cent supported a phase-out of polystyrene, plastic stirrers and straws, and plastic-lined coffee cups or lids.

Ninety-one per cent backed a phase-out of plastic cutlery, plates and cups, while 85 per cent supported a phase-out of lightweight fruit and barrier bags, and 87 per cent wanted to see a phase-out of takeaway food containers.

Of those ACT residents from the general community surveyed (definite support or probable support), 77 per cent supported banning single-use plastic straws, 71 per cent banning plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups, 68 per cent banning single-use plastic takeaway containers, and 58 per cent banning thicker plastic bags.

“The consultation has given us useful guidance about the next steps for Government in developing our policy on phasing out single-use plastics,” Mr Steel said.

During the consultation, there were 3300 interactions, including survey responses, submissions, YourSay comments, and attendance at several community and business information sessions, including more than 2770 completed community survey responses. A separate Government survey of the general community was undertaken.

To view the engagement report and submissions visit https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/single-use-plastics.

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