Single-use Plastics Summary Paper (2019)
At a national level, Australian Environment Ministers have agreed on a New National Waste Policy to reduce the amount of waste generated and improve the recyclability of waste, increase domestic recycling capacity and increase demand for recycled products. South Australia is committed to working with interstate and national colleagues on these measures including to develop the circular economy. In addition, we can look at taking immediate local action on a range of items designed for disposal after only a single-use, are prone to being littered and are unlikely to be recycled. The community also has a role in addressing unnecessary plastics and their impacts.
The government can help consumers by reducing the availability of single-use items and by providing information on the correct disposal of alternatives. There are a range of policy options that could be adopted to tackle problematic single-use plastic products, ranging from voluntary industry-led approaches through to bans via legislation. It may be appropriate to restrict market access for some single-use plastic products where suitable, lower impact alternatives exist.
Legislation has been used successfully in South Australia for the container deposit scheme and ban on light-weight plastic bags. Similar legislation could be developed to provide a flexible and long-term framework that enables bans on various single-use plastic products, with varying timeframes and impact assessments.