All turtles and seals rejoice! For the NSW government is banning single-use plastic bags next month. On June 1, the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 will come into effect, which will prevent the distribution of lightweight bags. As stated by Nine News, 60% of the state’s total litter is made out of single-use plastics and plastic packaging.
Moreover, from November 1, NSW will also ban single-use plastic plates, straws, stirrers, cotton buds, knives, forks, spoons, and other pieces of cutlery. Yup, most single-use plastics are going, going, gone!
When discussing this ban, the Treasurer and Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean seemed rather happy with this legislation. According to the ABC, he said, “This legislation is expected to stop 2.7 billion single-use items from ending up in our natural environment and waterways over the next 20 years and is a game-changer in the fight against plastic waste across our state.”
Some folks on Twitter were also rather happy with this ban. One user wrote, “NSW plastic bag ban coming next month… Good to see the most populated states finally coming into line with the rest of Australia.” While another person posted, “Could American states do this? Asking for an Ocean.”
But if you’re a person with a disability or have medical needs that require the use of single-use plastic items like straws, don’t fret. Because there will be exemptions for you folks.
In a breakdown by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, when this ban comes into effect, every state and territory will have banned single-use plastic bags. However, there’s still more work to be done. For instance, Tasmania is yet to ban single-use straws, drink stirrers, and cutlery. Moreover, the Northern Territory is the only state or territory that’s planning on banning helium balloons, which while fun, are pretty rubbish for the environment.