South Australia has become the first state in Australia to outlaw the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic products, with a ban on plastic drinking straws, stirrers and cutlery now in force.
Bioplastics like Polylactic Acid (PLA) are also banned despite being labelled as compostable because they can only be composted under strict industrial conditions.
Local governments are among the prescribed agencies that will be able to sell and supply plastic straws to people with disability or medical needs.
The ban will be extended to polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clam-shell containers, as well as oxo-degradable plastic products, in a year.
Encouraging local re-use businesses
Environment minister David Speirs says moving early on the ban meant businesses who manufactured re-useable compostable alternatives have been able to start setting up in the state.
“It means our single-use plastic ban will have significant economic benefits and create local jobs, as well as being good for the environment,” he said.
“We will continue to consider more products such as takeaway coffee cups, plastic barrier bags and other takeaway food service items as market demand increases and other sustainable alternatives become available.
“We are protecting our environment for future generations, reducing marine and other litter, and promoting the circular economy with a shift away from a single-use, throwaway mindset.
The government established a Single-Use Plastics Taskforce representing 15 different organisations, including people living with a disability, to develop the legislation.
People with disability have previously raised concern about a ban on plastic straws, saying some people rely on them for drinking.
The legislation doesn’t stop people from bringing their own straws to cafes, and any business can choose to supply individual single-use plastic drinking straws on request if there are disability or medical needs.
As well as local government offices, charities, medical, dental and care facilities are able to sell and supply packs of straws for these purposes.
“This consultation has enabled us to develop an exemption so that single-use plastic drinking straws can be accessed by people who require them due to a disability or health need,” Mr Speirs said.
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