Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Retailers welcome WA Government plan to phase-out more single-use plastics

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the WA Government’s leadership and commitment to ban more single-use plastic items as part of a discussion paper released on phase-out regulations for 2023.

Items proposed to be banned next year include expanded polystyrene packaging, microbeads, produce bags as well as coffee cups and lids. It comes as the deadline approaches for disposable plastic cups for cold drinks, which is now banned in WA from 1 October 2022.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says addressing environmental challenges is a top priority for the retail sector and it looks forward to engaging with the WA Government on the next stage of its single-use plastic bans.

“We commend the WA Government for their commitment to phase-out single-use plastic items, which have a devastating impact on our natural environment, and particularly the health of marine life. The retail industry is committed to being a part of the solution and welcomes the discussion paper on the next batch of items to be phased out in WA,” Mr Zahra said.

“The most critical thing is that businesses are given adequate notice and are properly consulted so they can take the necessary steps to source more sustainable products to replace the single-use plastics that are being phased out. This is particularly important for the state’s small businesses, who may have limited resources when it comes to sustainability and require additional support to continue with their transition away from single-use plastics.

“We look forward to ongoing engagement with the WA Government on how the next stage of the single-use plastic bans can best be achieved in a cost-effective way,” he said.

Other states and territories continue to implement their own programs to phase-out single-use plastics, with a range of items to be banned in NSW from 1 November 2022. These include plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, bowls, plates and expanded polystyrene food containers.

Mr Zahra said while the states and territories are to be commended for their proactive approach to phasing out single-use plastics, it has left the industry with a complex timeline with different products being phased out at different times across the country.

“For retailers that operate in multiple jurisdictions, this is a headache they could do without. Ideally, we’d like to see the Federal Government bring together industry, community and the states and territories to develop a national framework with a mutually agreed timeline for the phase-out of single-use plastics that everyone can operate with,” Mr Zahra said.

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