NSW to phase out single-use plastics

Published on 13 June 2021

Plastics like single-use lightweight bags, cotton buds, straws and stirrers will be phased out, and green bins for food and organic waste will be rolled out across the state, under the NSW Government’s comprehensive plastics plan and waste strategy.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Member for North Shore Felicity Wilson joined the Minister for the Environment Matt Kean to announce NSW’s Plastics Action Plan and Waste Strategy.

“In the next 20 years waste volumes are forecast to grow from 21 million tonnes to 37 million tonnes – without action now we will have more waste than we can safely manage,” Ms Wilson said.

“By increasing recycling and reducing plastic we are helping to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy which is good for jobs and good for the environment.”

Environment Minister Matt Kean said we must reduce the plastics ending up in the environment because we are on track to see more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

“The single-use items we are phasing out will stop an estimated 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from ending up in our environment and waterways over the next 20 years,” Mr Kean said.

“We can’t keep sending our scraps to languish in landfill when there are huge opportunities to turn our trash into treasure.

“Under our plans, every household will have access to a separate bin for their food and organic waste for the first time in NSW.

“This will not only deliver on our commitment to achieve zero emissions from organics in landfill by 2030 but will also grow our economy by extracting more resources like biogas from our waste.

“In addition, we will lead by example and help stimulate new markets for sustainable products by adopting an ‘if not, why not’ approach to the use of recycled materials in government procurement.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said more than $356 million will be invested over five years to implement the nation-leading plans to protect the environment and promote recycling.

“We want NSW to be a leader when it comes to reducing waste, maximising recycling and protecting our environment, but we want to do it in a way that drives job creation and innovation,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The community has high expectations and we need to make sure we put in place the best plans for the future while also giving businesses and councils enough time to adjust to the phase-outs and find sustainable alternatives.”

Small businesses will be supported to transition to new products before the phase-outs come into effect. Exemptions will also be available for members of the community who rely on particular single-use plastics for disability or health needs.

A statewide education campaign will be rolled out to provide households with clear information on how to get on board with the new waste programs and learn how to properly dispose of their food and organic waste.

The government will also continue to work closely with councils, with $206 million in funding available to support local government to deliver these ambitious plans, including $65 million to support the rollout of green bins.

The NSW Government will consult on and introduce the necessary legislation and regulations to deliver on the plans to Parliament in the coming months.

Head here for more information on the Waste Strategy and here for more information on the Plastics Action Plan.

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