Although bans on single-use plastics have been enforced in countries all around the world, such policy has yet to be implemented in Australia. But that is about to change after South Australia became the first Australian state to introduce laws banning some single-use plastics including cutlery, straws, and stirrers.
The law, which is expected to come into force in 2021, means that selling, supplying or distributing a “prohibited plastic product” will be illegal. The list of banned items includes plastic straws, cutlery, and drink stirrers, as well as polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, and clamshell containers. Other items that lawmakers are considering to add to the banned list are single-use coffee cups, plastic bowls, balloon ties, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
SA’s new laws also ban plastics that have additives to make them break apart more quickly into smaller pieces – known as oxo-degradable plastics. This is good because these are a type of plastics that break apart into tiny pieces that can contaminate all sorts of wildlife.
While the ban is a win for environmentalists for South Australia, it remains to be seen whether other states in Australia will enact similar bans.