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?
New Zealand National Plastics Plan
- January 2023: Phase out all PVC plastic food and beverage packaging, some polystyrene food and beverage packaging and all oxo-degradable plastic products.
- January 2025: Phase out all remaining polystyrene food and beverage packaging, all other expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging.
- National Plastic Plan
Australian National Plastics Plan 2021
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.
December 2022: Phase-out PVC packaging labels and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage containers.
- National Plastic Plan
South Australia Plastic Ban
South Australia was the first state to enforce a ban on a selection of single-use plastics. Legislation passed in 2020 with a staged ban commencing 1 March 2021, to be completed 1 March 2022. Products included in the ban:
1 March 2021: Plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery, including PLA compostable version of these items. Bioplastic cups, bowls and lined paper cups are NOT banned.
1 March 2022: Expanded polystyrene (EPS) cups, bowls, plates and containers, and all oxo-degradable products.
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.
Queensland Plastic Ban
Queensland passed legislation to ban a selection of single-use plastics on 11 March 2021, to be introduced on 1 September 2021. Products included in the ban:
1 September 2021: Plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, expanded polystyrene (EPS) cups and containers. Compostable plastics and other packaging items certified Industrially (AS4736) or home (AS5810) compostable to the Australian standards are allowed/exempt from the ban.
Hobart City Council was the first council to pass legislation to ban all single-use plastic foodservice packaging in March 2020. The City now has a by-law that bans single-use plastics at takeaway food retailers, which will be enforceable from 1 July 2021. The enforceable date was delayed a year due to COVID-19.
1 July 2021: All plastic single-use takeaway packaging. Compostable plastics and other packaging items certified Industrially (AS4736) or home (AS5810) compostable to the Australian standards are allowed/exempt from the ban.
Australian Capital Territory
Legislation is expected to be passed in March 2021 with a single-use plastics ban introduced on 1 July 2021. Products proposed for the ban:
1 July 2021: Proposal includes:
- Plastic cutlery, drink stirrers, including PLA bioplastic versions of these items.
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food and beverage containers. PLA bioplastic is currently an acceptable replacement product for expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers.
- 1 July 2022: Proposal includes plastic straws, fruit and vegetable 'barrier bags' and all other plastic products made from degradable plastic. Compostable packaging alternatives are not included in the banned plastics list.
- ACT Government Plastic Reduction Bill 2020
Legislation is being discussed and expected to be passed in February 2022 with a single-use plastics ban introduced in February 2023. Products proposed for the ban:
- February 2023: Proposal includes 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.
- Victorian Single-Use Plastic Bans Information Page
Legislation being drafted and expected to be tabled by 2023. Products currently proposed for the ban:
- 2023: Plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, eps food containers, heavyweight plastic bags, helium balloon releases. Currently reviewing position on compostable plastics.
- Western Australia’s Plan for Plastic Information page
New South Wales
The New South Wales Government is now seeking feedback on the future of plastics in New South Wales and a range of options that will help shape the development of how we manage waste over the next 20 years.
- Cleaning Up Our Act sets up the parameters for the The NSW Plastics Plan.
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.
See BioPak full range of compostable packaging here.
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