AFTER releasing a discussion paper today (April 16) titled “Phasing out single-use plastics”, the ACT government is hoping to start a conversation around banning out items such as disposable plastic-lined coffee cups and lids.
City Services Minister Chris Steel says they’re asking the community, which problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics they should focus on.
The ACT government is currently looking at phasing out plastic straws and stirrers, plastic cutlery, disposable plastic plates and cups, disposable plastic-lines coffee cups and lids, polystyrene (foam) plastic food containers and beverage cups, light-weight fruit and vegetable bags and other non-recyclable plastics.
Mr Steel says the government won’t be focusing on, at this time, items such as microbeads (already being phased out), food packaging, sanitary items, nappies and incontinence products, reusable plastic bags above 35 microns in thickness, including “green bags”, “biodegradable” and “compostable” bags, and health related sterile items such as syringes.
“It is time that the ACT takes responsible action to reduce single-use plastics and build a circular economy, where we reduce our reliance on these products and move to better alternatives,” he says.
Mr Steel says the ACT isn’t the first to look into phasing out single-use plastics, with the European Parliament banning single-use plastics in the EU by 2021. South Australia and Hobart (city) are also looking at phasing out single-use plastics.
“It is still common place to see takeaway shops continuing to use plastic-foam takeaway containers like it is still the 1980s,” he says.
“Supermarkets also continue to sell plastic plates, cups and cutlery – when it seems like there are clear alternatives already being sold on their own shelves.
“We want to hear from the community about how we can reduce the use of certain single-use plastics where there are clear alternatives that are good for the environment and practical for business, industry and consumers.”
Mr Steel says decisions to phase-out single use plastics are likely to have impacts on business, institutions and ACT residents, including people with a disability, and he invites these groups to contribute to the discussion.
Visit yoursay.act.gov.au to have your say by the end of July 2019.