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03rd of August 2021Sustainability

Australian Single-Use Plastic Bans

The goal is to reduce plastic pollution on land and in the oceans and reduce the unsustainable use of fossil fuel to make packaging.

Single-Use Plastic bans are an effective strategy to speed up the transition towards a circular economy.


Single-use disposable packaging with a functional life of minutes should not be made with materials that will last hundreds of years. Plastic manufacture, pollution and the very limited recycling infrastructure is front of mind with consumers worldwide.

Foodservice businesses have the opportunity to lead the charge by choosing composting to recycle their food and packaging waste.

So, what products are included in the single-use plastic bans?

 

Australian National 

Australia has a National Plastic Plan. We have listed the recommendation for single-use plastics below.

Stage 1: July 2022
  • Phase-out non-compostable plastic packaging products containing additive fragmentable technology. Along with expanded polystyrene (EPS) in loose-fill and moulded consumer packaging.
Stage 2: December 2022:
  • Phase-out PVC packaging labels and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage containers.


South Australia

South Australia was the first state to enforce a ban on a selection of single-use plastics. See the South Australian Replace The Waste website. Legislation passed in 2020 with a staged ban commencing 1 March 2021, to be completed 1 March 2022. 

> DOWNLOAD BIOPAK ALTERNATIVES FLYER FOR SA
 
Stage 1: 1 March 2021 
  • INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery, including PLA compostable version of these items.
    • We have a full range of FSC™ certified birch wood cutlery. FSC™ certification ensures that the wood has been harvested sustainably and to benefit communities, wildlife and the environment. See our wooden cutlery range
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • Wooden cutlery and paper straws are acceptable.
Stage 2: 1 March 2022
  • INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) cups, bowls, plates and containers, and all oxo-degradable products.
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • PLA bioplastic cups, bowls and lined paper cups are NOT banned.
Penalties
  • It will not be an offence to supply single-use plastic straws for people with disabilities or medical needs under the legislation’s provision for exemptions.Maximum penalty: $20,000. Maximum expiation fee: $1,000. Different fees for different types of penalties. 

 

Queensland

Queensland passed legislation to ban a selection of single-use plastics on 11 March 2021 (Queensland Plastic Ban) , to be introduced on 1 September 2021. 

> DOWNLOAD BIOPAK ALTERNATIVES FLYER FOR QLD
 
Stage 1: 1 September 2021
  • INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, expanded polystyrene (EPS) cups and containers. 
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • Compostable plastics and other packaging items certified Industrially (AS4736) or home (AS5810) compostable to the Australian standards are allowed/exempt from the ban.
    • Advice for businesses
Penalties
  • Any business found to be supplying a banned single-use plastic item or providing false or misleading information to another person about a banned plastic item may face a maximum fine of 50 penalty points (or $6672.50) per offence, with one penalty unit currently valued at $133.45. (Source)

 

Tasmania

Hobart City Council was the first council to pass legislation to ban all single-use plastic foodservice packaging in March 2020 – Hobart City Council Single-Use Plastic By-Law. The City now has a by-law that bans single-use plastics at takeaway food retailers, which will be enforceable from 1 July 2021. 

> DOWNLOAD BIOPAK COMPOSTABLE CATALOGUE
 
Hobart: 1 July 2021
  • INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • All plastic single-use takeaway packaging.
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • Compostable plastics and other packaging items certified Industrially (AS4736) or home (AS5810) compostable to the Australian standards are allowed/exempt from the ban.
Penalties

The current penalty unit amount is $168 and is set by the State Government. The two penalty units is applicable for an infringement notice which can be issued by a council officer. An eight penalty unit and infringement of up $13,44 is assessed if the matter is prosecuted. (Source)

 

Australian Capital Territory

Stage 1 bans came into effect 1 July 2021 –  ACT Government Plastic Reduction Bill 2020. Stage 2 legislation has not yet passed, they are expected to commence 1 July 2022.

> DOWNLOAD BIOPAK ALTERNATIVES FLYER FOR ACT
 
Stage1: 1 July 2021
  • INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic cutlery, drink stirrers, including PLA bioplastic versions of these items.
    • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food and beverage containers.
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • PLA bioplastic is currently an acceptable replacement product for expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers.
Stage 2: 1 July 2022
  • INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic straws
    • Plastic fruit and vegetable 'barrier bags'
    • All other plastic products made from non compostable degradable plastics
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • Compostable packaging alternatives are not included in the banned plastics list.
Penalties
  1. Supply of prohibited plastic products – 50 penalty units.
  2. False representation about prohibited plastic products – 50 penalty units. (Source)

 

Western Australia

Legislation is being drafted and stage 1 is expected to be implemented on 31 Decmeber 2021, with medium-term ban in place in late 2022. See Western Australia's Plan for Platics website.

> DOWNLOAD BIOPAK ALTERNATIVES FLYER FOR WA
 
Stage 1: 31 December 2021
  • PROPOSED ITEMS INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic plates, bowls, cutlery, stirrers, straws, cold beverage cups, drink stirrers, straws, thick plastic checkout bags, expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and helium balloon releases. Including PLA compostable versions of these items.
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN: The below products that are certified industrially compostable to Australian standards (AS4736):
    • Certified compostable paperboard cold cups lined PLA
    • Certified compostable paperboard cold cup lids made from PLA
    • Certified compostable paperboard bowls lined PLA
    • Certified compostable paperboard bowl lids made from PLA
Stage 2: Late 2022
  • PROPOSED ITEMS INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Barrier/produce bags
    • Microbeads
    • Polystyrene packaging & cups
    • Coffee cups and lids
    • Cotton buds with plastic shafts
    • Oxo-degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions)
  • EXEMPT FROM THE BAN:
    • Reviewing position on compostable packaging alternatives.
Penalties
  • Plastic bag penalties of fines of up to $5000 to supply a lightweight plastic bag to customers. (Source)

 

New South Wales

Legislation is being discussed and expected to be passed by the end of 2021, stage 1 is expected in mid-2022 with stage 2 to follow in late 2022.  The NSW Plastics Action Plan sets up the parameters for the proposed ban.

 
Stage 1: Mid 2022
  • PROPOSED ITEMS INLCUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Single-use lightweight shopping bags (less than 35 microns thick), Including those made from ‘degradable’ and ‘compostable’ plastic
Stage 2: Late 2022
  • PROPOSED ITEMS INLCUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic straws
    • Plastic stirrers
    • Cotton-buds
    • They are reviewing their position of composable packaging alternatives.

 

Victoria

Legislation is being discussed and expected to be passed in February 2022 with a single-use plastics ban introduced in February 2023. See the Victorian Single-Use Plastic Bans Information Page.

Stage 1: February 2023
  • PROPOSED ITEMS INCLUDED IN THE BAN:
    • Plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks. Currently, there is no mention of compostable plastics.
Penalties
  • For single-use plastic bags. Court penalties of $9,900 for an individual and $49,500 for a company may apply. Retailers who ignore an order from EPA could face a court-imposed penalty of up to $396,500. (Source)

 

What’s the Role of Bioplastic in a Sustainable Packaging Future?

While we fully support Single-Use Plastic bans for non-compostable plastics, we believe that some compostable bioplastic products have a role to play, and for the time being, we will continue to supply bioplastic cutlery across the other states.

More sustainable options for conventional plastic items are readily available. BioPak offers certified compostable, and carbon-neutral alternatives made from sustainably sourced and rapidly renewable materials like sugarcane, FSC™ certified wood or bioplastic materials made from plants.

Using compostable bioplastic packaging in the foodservice and hospitality industry undeniably helps increase the collection and composting of organic waste.

Single-use foodservice products including cups, cutlery and takeaway containers are often contaminated with food residues making conventional recycling impractical. Compostable packaging allows food waste and packaging to be composted together.

Bioplastics do not solve the problem of littering. However, together with consumer education campaigns coupled with an effective collection and recycling infrastructure, these materials are less likely to end up in the environment.
BioPak, together with the compost industry, have diverted tonnes of food waste and compostable packaging from landfill, including bioplastic cutlery. In Australia and New Zealand, over 20 compost facilities accept bioplastic packaging that is certified compostable.

Bioplastics are an essential part of the circular economy and a fast-growing, innovative industry that has the potential to help us decouple economic growth from resource depletion and environmental impacts.

> DOWNLOAD AUSTRALIAN SINGLE USE PLASTIC BANS FLYER
> DOWNLOAD BIOPAK COMPOSTABLE CATALOGUE
 
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