In late 2020, the Western Australian government announced a roadmap to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, specifically:
- A range of single-use plastics to be phased-out in Western Australia
- Education programs to support transition to a cleaner environment
- World Wildlife Fund-Australia (WWF-Australia) hails WA as a plastic-free national leader
- 98% of people surveyed want further action on plastics.
The Plan for Plastics (PfP) will be rolled out in two main stages.
Stage 1 regulations to ban single-use plastic or disposable items starts on 1 January 2022 and includes:
- Single-Use plastic ban cups
- drink stirrers
- drinking straws
- thick plastic bags
- expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food containers
- helium balloon releases.
Enforcement of Stage 1 regulations will start on 1 July 2022 for all items except for cups, which starts on 1 October 2022, to provide time for everyone to adapt.
Stage 2 single-use plastic or disposable items to be banned by the end of 2022:
- barrier/produce bags
- polystyrene packaging
- polystyrene cups
- coffee cups and lids
- cotton buds with plastic shafts
- lids for cups and bowls
- oxo-degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions).
Stage 2 legislation is proposed to be introduced by 1 January 2023, and opportunities to provide input will be advertised in 2022.
Please note that “compostable plastics” are not seen by the WA government as environmentally friendly products as “compostable plastics” contaminate plastic recycling, end up in landfills to break down and release methane gas, and cannot be composted in home cold composts. They only break down if they are sent to industrial composters, but many schools and cafes do not purchase the service of having the “compostable plastics” picked up for composting by the provider. Better alternatives include choosing reusable packaging or cardboard packaging. The WA Plan for Plastics will be banning products labelled as “degradable, oxo degradable, biodegradable or compostable.”