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Legislation Explained

Leading The Way

On September 9 2020, the South Australian Parliament passed the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020. This legislation is the first of its kind in Australia and a positive step towards avoiding waste. 


From  March 1, 2021, single-use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers will be prohibited from the sale, supply or distribution in South Australia. These single-use items can be replaced with reusable and compostable alternatives.  Exemptions will apply for single-use plastic straws. 

From   March 1, 2022, expanded polystyrene cups, bowls plates and clamshell containers will also be prohibited from sale, supply or distribution in South Australia. Oxo-degradable plastic products will also be prohibited from sale, supply or distribution and manufacture and production in South Australia. Oxo-degradable plastic products have additives which enable the plastic to break down into tiny fragments (‘microplastics’) which do not completely decompose. 


Plastics play an important role in our economy and daily lives. When used in packaging, plastic helps ensure food safety and reduce food waste. But too often, the way plastics are produced, used and discarded results in a wasted resource, causing pollution, litter and harming marine life. South Australians are committed to the environment and want action on single-use plastic products. By avoiding waste and shifting to reusable or recyclable options we are ensuring the best environmental outcome for our ‘clean and green’ state. 


The legislation prohibits the sale, supply or distribution of single-use plastic straws, beverage stirrers and cutlery. Single-use plastic products are designed to be used once, or for a limited number of times, often away from home, and thrown away after a brief use, usually resulting in waste. 


An exemption allows for the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic straws for people with a disability or medical needs.  An exemption also allows for single-use plastic straws attached to products such as juice or milk boxes to be excluded from the list of prohibited items. Further information on exemptions can be found here.


Compliance and enforcement in South Australia will be by the Environment Protection Authority.