Single-use plastics (designed to be used once and disposed of) may be cheap and convenient, but the cost to the environment is enormous.
The New South Wales (NSW) Government is taking steps towards going “plastic-free” with a ban on certain single-use plastic products.
Previously, On 1 June 2022, the supply of lightweight plastic bags was banned in NSW. From 1 November 2022, the supply of single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, bowls and plates and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items will be banned in NSW. The supply of single-use plastic cotton buds and microbeads in rinse-off personal care products will also be banned state-wide.
The National Retail Association, on behalf of NSW Government, are hosting weekly online Q&A sessions, designed for retailers, hospitality, suppliers or community organisations directly impacted by the NSW ban to ‘pop in’, ask us questions and clarify their obligations.
What items are banned:
- Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and swizzle sticks, and cutlery, including forks, spoons, knives, sporks, splayds, chopsticks, and food picks, will be banned.
- Single-use plastic bowls and plates (including those made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics, or bio-plastics).
- Expanded polystyrene food service items (EPS), such as clamshells, cups, plates and bowls will be banned in NSW.
- All single-use plastic cotton buds
- Rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads, such as face and body cleansers, exfoliants and masks, shampoo, conditioner, hair dyes, and toothpaste. will be banned within NSW.
- Lightweight plastic shopping bags
The bans applies even if these items are made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics, or bio-plastics. This includes those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.
What items are still allowed:
- Serving utensils such as salad servers or tongs
- items that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages or are included within or attached to that packaging, through a machine-automated process (such as a straw attached to a juice box or a spoon included with a yogurt).
- Exemptions apply in certain settings to ensure continued access to single-use plastic straws for people with a disability or medical need.
- Businesses who serve food or drinks, such as cafes and pubs, can provide a single straw from behind the counter on request to people with a disability or medical need. Straws must not be freely available or visible to customers.
- Single-use plastic bowls designed or intended to have a spill-proof lid, such as those used for a takeaway soup.
- Plates or bowls that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages (such as a plastic plate included in a frozen meal).
- EPS fresh produce trays such as those used for raw meat, seafood, fruit or vegetables
- EPS packaging, including consumer and business-to-business packaging and transport containers
- EPS food service items that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages, or are including within or attached to that packaging, through a machine-automated process
- Reusable cotton bud sticks, such as those with replaceable ends
- Single-use cotton buds with wooden, bamboo or paper stems.
- Manufacturers have been phasing out microbeads in personal care products for some time, with approximately 99.3% of products microbead free.
- Produce bags and deli bags
- Bin liners
- Human or animal waste bags
- Bags used to contain items for medical purposes
- Compostable liners for Kitchen to Compost service