NSW Govt sets out roadmap for single-use plastics ban by 2025

Single-use plastics will be phased out in NSW by 2025 under the state’s new Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 released last week.

The plan, backed by $356 million in new funding, will also include:

  • financial incentives for manufacturers and producers to design out problematic plastics;
  • requirements for government agencies to prefer recycled content;
  • mandating the separation of food and garden organics (FOGO) for households and selected businesses; and
  • incentivising biogas generation from waste materials.

To complement the strategy, the state government has also released the NSW Plastic Action Plan and the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy: a guide to future infrastructure needs.

Under the plastic action plan, lightweight shopping bags will be phased out within six months of the passage of enabling legislation. Plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, expanded polystyrene food service items, cotton buds with plastics sticks and microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products will be banished a further six months on.

Other products such as heavyweight shopping bags, bowls, fruit stickers and oxo-degradable plastics will be reviewed three years after the passage of enabling legislation.

Separate household FOGO collections will be mandatory by 2030, with the government pledging to consult with councils, businesses, and service providers on the best way to transition to the new arrangements, including the need for phasing in or grandfathering existing contracts.

Legislation enabling the strategy is expected to pass NSW parliament by year’s end.

In related news, the Western Australian state government has brought forward its timetable for banning single-use plastics.

Originally due to be phased out by 2025, plastic bowls, cups, plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, polystyrene food containers, thick plastic bags and helium balloon releases will now be banished from 31 December.

Under the accelerated phase-out plan, plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, and oxo-degradable plastics will be banned by the end of next year.

Takeaway coffee cups and lids have also been added to the Plan for Plastics and will be phased by the end of 2022.