New national strategy to rein in profusion of problem plastics

The Federal Government has proposed a suite of national actions, including greater consistency of kerbside bin collections, to deal with problematic plastics.

Launching the first National Plastics Plan this week, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said it was time to change the way plastics are produced and consumed – and that states, industry, and consumers need to work together to drive this.

“This is the first national strategy, one that attacks the issue from all sides and which sets clear targets over the next decade,” Ms Ley said.

Among the actions identified are:

  • A plastic-free beaches initiative;
  • New labelling guidelines to help consumers;
  • An end to expanded polystyrene consumer packaging fill and polystyrene food and beverage containers;
  • Greater consistency for kerbside bin collections, including food and organic waste options;
  • Establishment of a task force to address the plastics in littered cigarette butts;
  • Phasing in microplastic filters in washing machines;
  • Ensuring 100 percent of all packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable; and
  • A second plastics summit focussing on sustainable design.

“We want to work with companies, bring consumers with us and call out those companies which make false environmental claims about their products,” Ms Ley said.

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said the plan is also intended to accelerate industry’s stewardship role and progress in achieving 2025 packaging targets.

“It is going to take time for us to establish a truly circular economy, one where all plastics are fully recycled, and where products are designed in ways that allow their components to be remanufactured at the ‘end of life’, but it needs to happen.”

Click here for more on the Government’s plan to phase out problematic plastic materials.