Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Retailers introduce next phase of plastics bans

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is encouraging retailers and customers in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to support the next phase of single-use plastic bans, commencing today.

From 1 September 2023, the following items will be banned in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

Queensland

  • Use of heavy weight plastic shopping bags
  • Use of expanded polystyrene loose packaging
  • Sale of cotton buds with plastic stems
  • Sale of plastic microbeads in rinseable personal care and cleaning products
  • Mass releases of lighter than air balloons
South Australia

  • Use of single-use plastic bowls and plates (some exemptions apply but not for retail)
  • Use of plastic pizza savers
  • Sale of cotton buds with plastic stems

 

Western Australia

  • Use of loose-fill expanded polystyrene packaging
  • Use of expanded plastic cups and trays for raw meat and seafood
  • Use of degradable plastics
  • Sale of cotton buds with plastic stems
  • Sale of plastic microbeads in rinseable personal care and cleaning products

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says retailers recognise plastic pollution needs to be a key focus for the sector.

“In recent member surveys conducted by the ARA, the majority of respondents (three quarters) agreed that plastic pollution was a critical issue for retailers, and that they would support bans despite higher costs associated with the rollout.

“Retailers have a strong track record of getting behind these changes. But we also need consumers to support this transition and we need realistic policy settings from government to make sure we can implement these bans at least cost and complexity for businesses,” Mr Zahra said.

To help retail businesses navigate these changes, the ARA has developed an online resource at retail.org.au/plastics including on-demand webinar content and an overview of bans across the country.

“These bans will represent some challenges for some retailers, which could result in higher costs and even unintended environmental consequences if surplus stockholdings are sent to landfill.

“Given these risks and the high level of support from retailers, we have advocated for government to take an ‘education before enforcement’ approach to these bans,” Mr Zahra said.

The ARA continues to advocate for a national framework for plastics and other sustainability changes, to reduce challenges with implementation complexity and cost for all parties.

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