A Definitive Ranking of Each State’s Plastic Ban Policies

Plastic: It’s everywhere, mate. It’s in our bins, it’s in our oceans, it’s in our turtles, and even in our food. Safe to say: If we want to have an A+ time on Earth, then we have to reduce the amount of plastic that we use.

Fortunately, Australia’s states and territories have started to ban certain plastic items. However, some joints have done a better job than others.

So, with all of this in mind, which Australian state or territory is the best at banning plastic? And which place is the worst? Well, if you want to know the answers to such questions, then you come to the right place. Here’s a definitive ranking of each state’s plastic ban policies

The Wooden Spoon: Tasmania

Tasmania, by a long shot, is the worst state at banning plastic items. The only item they’ve banned is lightweight plastic bags, a feat that every other state and territory has also achieved. 

Moreover, to make matters worse, they have no plans to ban items like plastic straws or plastic cutlery. They are currently standing alone, far away from a crowd of ambition. 

Seventh Place: The Northern Territory

Like Tasmania, the Northern Territory has only banned lightweight plastic bags. Nevertheless, they have a plan in place to get rid of a whack of their plastics. 

In 2025, plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, cotton bud sticks, and microbeads, amongst others, will be banned. They are also thinking about banning heavyweight plastic bags that same year.

Sixth Place: South Australia

Okay folks, the plastic ban race from here on is a tight one. However, we need a fifth place, and our fifth place is South Australia.

As of now, South Australia has banned plastic straws, drink stirrers, and cutlery, amongst others.

But that being said, in two years’ time, South Australia might be Australia’s plastic-banning prizewinner. In 2023, this state is banning plastic plates, bowls, and cotton bud sticks. In 2024, this state is banning heavyweight plastic bags, plastic produce bags, plastic cups, plastic lids, coffee cups containing plastic, and plastic takeaway containers. 

Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Understanding Every Recycling Symbol Used

Related: 10 Simple Swaps You Can Do to Reduce the Amount of Plastic You Use This Week

Fifth Place: The ACT

In a surprising twist, Canberra isn’t the winner. As of now, the ACT has banned plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, and cotton bud sticks, amongst others. Which, while great news, isn’t the best Australia has to offer. 

Later this year, they are considering whether or not they’ll ban plastic plates, bowls, and takeaway containers. They’re also thinking about banning heavyweight plastic bags. 

Forth Place: Queensland

While third place isn’t a gold medal, it’s still nothing to scoff at. As of now, Queensland has banned plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, and bowls, amongst others. 

Later this year, Queensland is banning plastic straws and microbeads. And unlike the ACT, they’re not just considering banning heavyweight plastic bags, they’re actually doing it. 

Third Place: Victoria

On February 1, 2023, Victoria went from being sixth to third on this list. This is thanks to the state banning plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, and cotton bud sticks, amongst others.

Sustainability Victoria is very pleased with this announcement and wants to encourage the hospitality industry to go further than the current recommendations. 

As Matt Genever, the Interim CEO of Sustainability Victoria, said, “We’re encouraging food-serving businesses to look at where they sit in the circular economy and consider how they can drive reuse over single use.”

This news has also excited companies like frank green. This organisation is capitalising on this ban, and the other state’s plastic ban policies, by selling fancy kitchenware that can be reused. These products include the likes of reusable straws, stainless steel bowls, and, ceramic cups. 

However, it’s not all swell news for Victorians. Unlike NSW, they haven’t banned microbeads. This brings us to our number two pick.

Second Place: NSW 

NSW has tied with our winner for having the most plastic bans legislated. As of now, NSW has banned plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, and microbeads, amongst others.

However, unlike first place, NSW doesn’t currently have any more banning ambitions. If they want to take the title, then they have some planning to do, 

You’re a Winner, Baby: Western Australia

G’day, Western Australia! You are officially undefeated in the banning plastics game. Moreover, by the end of this year, you’ll be ahead of the pack by a few metaphorical km.

As of now, Western Australia has banned plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, microbeads, cups, and lids, amongst others. Additionally, they’re the only state to ban heavyweight plastic bags. 

But as implied earlier on: Western Australia isn’t done banning plastics yet. By the end of 2023, they’ll have banned plastic cotton bud sticks, microbeads, produce bags, and coffee cups that contain plastic. 

Well done, Western Australia. Well done.

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