On the plastic bag ban


This week I thought I would highlight one of the biggest hurdles that we’re facing in the race to a greener world: and that’s plastic pollution. 

The good news is that single-use plastic bags have just been banned in NSW as part of the Plastics Circular Economy Act 2021 legislation. It’s estimated that single use plastics and plastic packaging comprise about 60 per cent of the state’s total litter.

Straws, cutlery, and other items will all be phased out by November 2022. And in the ACT all public events will be plastic-free from July 2022 when the second phase of the Plastic Reduction Act comes into effect.

“I think all of us can see the impact plastic pollution is having on our environment, which is why we’re making major changes in NSW this year,” NSW Minister for Environment James Griffin said.

“The ban on lightweight single-use bags comes into place from 1 June, and then from November, we’re banning more problematic plastics, such as cutlery and plates.”

It’s estimated these bans will prevent 2.7 billion plastic items from going into landfill.

That’s awesome! And congrats to SA and QLD that are already across the line.

I’m travelling to Tasmania this long weekend to check out Dark Mofo – the music and arts festival that called almost 20,000 visitors to the island in pre-pandemic years. 

Hobart was in July 2021 the first city in Australia to ban single-use plastic takeaway food packaging as part of a wider move to become single-use plastic free.

Hats off to the Apple Isle! 

“It is really important to get rid of single-use plastics because they are wasteful and create huge problems for our environment,” Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds quite rightly said.

“We expect this by-law will prevent 600 tonnes of single-use plastics going to landfill every year, equivalent to around 150 trucks full of waste.

“This is a huge step towards achieving our ambitious goal of zero waste to landfill by 2030.”

It is a huge step, Anna! And a huge pile of waste avoided. 

In Sydney I am still being asked “would you like a plastic bag with that?” – which surprised me until I realised that the ban in NSW only covers “lightweight” plastic bags and not the rest. 

If you are part of a business that provides goods, ask yourself if there is a better way to package and transport your goods than in a plastic bag or container. 

I once worked for a company that marketed a certain product as “plastic-free” – while it came delivered wrapped in a couple layers of plastic to protect it. 

Well one company that appears to be leading the way in counteracting this issue is everyone’s guilty favourite IKEA. The homewares retailer has already significantly decreased the use of plastics in their packaging, with the company claiming that less than 10 per cent of its total volume of packaging consists of plastics, with a plan to phase out plastics altogether in stages.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes that are thinking about how to reduce their plastic footprint, will be best placed to comply with future plastic bans. And most importantly, they will be taking their responsibilities as businesses seriously. 

Rose Mary Petrass

Bye for now. Get in touch if you have any interesting business news for us to report, or if you’re an existing Greenlister and want to share what you’re up to: hello@thegreenlist.com.au

– Rose Mary Petrass, your Green List curator