QLD, SA, and WA to ban more plastic from 1 September
New South Wales and the ACT are set to become the only jurisdictions permitting the mass-release of balloons, as other states take action to ban more single-use plastics.
Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia will introduce further bans on single-use plastic items from 1 September, in a move that the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said will protect marine life.
All three states are banning plastic cotton bud sticks, while Queensland and WA are banning loose-fill polystyrene packing materials and microbeads found in personal care and cleaning products, which are all sources of microplastics.
Queensland will ban thick plastic shopping bags and mass balloon releases, leaving New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory the only jurisdictions permitting mass releases of balloons, which can end up in waterways and oceans.
While NSW and Victoria have also banned single-use plastics, they have not yet announced plans to expand their bans to include items such as thick plastic shopping bags, expanded polystyrene packaging and coffee cups containing plastic. Tasmania is trailing all jurisdictions by a long way with no plan to ban single-use plastics.
Shane Cucow is AMCS Plastics Campaign Manager.
“Plastic cotton bud sticks, microbeads in personal care and cleaning products, and expanded polystyrene are key sources of microplastics, slipping through filtration systems and easily washing out into our oceans,” he said.
“Expanded polystyrene is particularly problematic. It’s lightweight and comprised mostly of air, and it easily fragments and blows away into our oceans where it is easily ingested by turtles and seabirds.
“These bans were made possible by thousands of ocean lovers who demanded politicians take action to stem the flow of plastic into our oceans, which is set to triple by 2040 if we don’t take decisive action.”
“As Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia compete for first place in the race to ban single-use plastics, implementing their second and third tranches of banned plastics, Tasmania has been left in the dust with no plan at all. Tasmania’s waters are important feeding grounds for species such as our endangered leatherback turtles, which are known to be at high risk of ingesting plastics.”