01/07/2022 - 10:25

Single-use plastic ban ramps up

01/07/2022 - 10:25

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Retailers will be fined for using plastic plates, bowls and drinking straws from today after the state government enforced a ban on single-use plastics.

Single-use plastic ban ramps up
The bans were introduced on January 1. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Retailers will be fined for using plastic plates, bowls and drinking straws from today after the state government enforced a ban on single-use plastics.  

In total, nine plastic items have been banned, ranging from thick plastic bags to helium balloons.

The new rules were introduced on January 1 2022, but the state government implemented a six-month transition period to allow businesses to find alternatives.

Disposable plastic cups for cold drinks will be prohibited from October 2022 to provide retailers with more time to adapt.

Further bans on coffee cups, microbeads and cotton bud sticks are planned to start on January 1 2023.

From today, businesses will be fined $5,000 per offence for supplying a banned plastic item, providing false or misleading information about plastic packaging, or releasing a helium balloon.

However, the state government said it would use a commonsense, education-first approach with retailers.

Environment Minister Reece Whitby said the government had engaged with more than 10,000 businesses to help them adjust to the new requirements.

The state government funded an education program implemented by the National Retail Association to work with food outlets, suppliers, community organisations and shopping centres.

The Plastic Free Places program, run by the Boomerang Alliance, has been providing support and solutions for cafes, event hosts, markets and other hospitality.

"The state government recognises that enforcement of these bans are coming into effect during a time when businesses are dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19 and disrupted supply chains, and we will take a commonsense approach to enforcement,” Mr Whitby said.

"I encourage shoppers to do their part by using their own sustainable products instead of disposable items from a retailer, and show their understanding that, when buying groceries or takeaway food, some items will no longer be available."

Speaking of the bans earlier this week, National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said thousands of businesses were already removing products and introducing alternatives, but patience and ongoing support would be required over the next few months.

“Western Australia is the first in the world to ban some of these items, so it may take a little time to source and trial alternatives,” Ms Lamb said.

“Shoppers need to be aware that when grabbing groceries, a takeaway meal or drink, party supplies, or the latest fashion, that businesses are doing their best to comply and some items will no longer be offered.”

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