Published 31-05-2022

NSW government rolls out its lightweight bag ban

31-05-2022

Marking a major pivot away from single-use plastics, the NSW Government’s ban on lightweight plastic bags comes into place on 1 June 2022.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the lightweight plastic bag ban is the first of many plastic items being banned in NSW this year.

“I think all of us can see the impact plastic pollution is having on our environment, which is why we’re making major changes in NSW this year,” said Mr Griffin.

“The ban on lightweight single-use bags comes into place from 1 June, and then from November, we’re banning more problematic plastics, such as cutlery and plates.

“Single-use plastic is used by many of us for just a few convenient minutes, but it remains in our environment for many years, eventually breaking into microplastics.”

Recent figures show that single-use plastic items and packaging make up 60 per cent of all litter in NSW. By stopping the supply of problematic plastic, it is possible to help prevent it from entering the environment as litter or going into landfill.

“We each have the power to make positive environmental change at an individual level, and I encourage everyone to choose to go plastic-free as often as they can,” added Mr Griffin.

The NSW Government passed the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 in November, and introduced the Plastics Action Planlaunch last year.

The ban will prevent almost 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment in NSW over the next 20 years.

In addition to the 1 June lightweight plastic bag ban, from November the NSW Government is banning:

single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and cotton buds
expanded polystyrene food ware and cups
rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads

As Mr Griffin explained, so-called ‘compostable’ and ‘bioplastic’ alternatives to the above items are also being banned. 

“That is because they don’t biodegrade unless they are treated in an industrial composting facility, creating just as much of a problem as conventional plastic.”

To ensure small businesses are ready for the changes this year, the NSW Government engaged the National Retail Association (NRA) to deliver a comprehensive retailer education campaign.

Minister for Small Business Eleni Petinos said the NSW Government is supporting more than 40,000 businesses across NSW to phase-out single-use plastics.

“The NSW Government has worked with stakeholders to support small businesses to understand how they will be affected, how to comply with new laws and what alternatives they can use to single-use plastics,” said Ms Petinos.

“Through the NRA, we are running a retailer education campaign, conducting store visits, and providing online webinars and resources to help businesses make the adjustment away from single-use plastics.”

The NRA has launched a free hotline (1800 844 946) to offer businesses, community organisations and consumers advice on the single-use plastic bans.

For more information about the NSW plastics ban, visit the NSW Government website.

Original article released by: Minister for Environment and Heritage, Minister for Fair Trading, Minister for Small Business

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