Qld single-use plastics roadmap widened to include microbeads

Plastic microbeads will be banned in Queensland from 1 September 2023 under a five-year roadmap to phase out harmful, single-use plastics.

Mass releases of lighter-than-air balloons will also be banned next year, along with polystyrene packing peanuts and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

As well, new minimum standards will be introduced for heavy plastic bags requiring them to be tested for reusability and the ability to be recycled once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan.

The roadmap comes off the back of new survey results which showed 91 percent of Queenslanders backed further bans on single-use plastics, as well as consultation with peak retail and environment groups.

The Queensland government phased out single-use lightweight shopping bags in 2018 and last year banned several single-use plastics food products like straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, unenclosed bowls, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway containers and EPS cups.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said that together with the roadmap, the Government would continue working to reduce single-use plastics and prevent plastic pollution.

“We will continue to deliver and support initiatives to address problematic plastic pollution including ongoing support for the Plastic Free Places Program which assists businesses in regional Queensland to eliminate six key single-use plastic items,” she said.

In related news, bans on nine single-use plastic items came into effect in Western Australia on 1 July.

The items include plates, bowls, cutlery, drink stirrers, drinking straws, thick plastic bags, expanded polystyrene (EPS) food containers, helium balloon releases and unlidded containers.

Disposable plastic cups for cold drinks will be banned from October.

The bans are the first stage of WA’s Plan for Plastics introduced on January 1, 2022.