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Single-use Plastic FAQs - About the Legislation

About The Legislation

  • What is the purpose of the legislation?

    The legislation restricts and prohibits the manufacture, production, distribution, sale and supply of certain single-use and other plastic products in South Australia. The legislation was passed by the South Australian Parliament on 9 September 2020. The legislation is HERE.

  • Who decided to restrict and prohibit single-use plastics?

    The South Australian state government announced in July 2019 that it would develop legislation to address the impacts of single-use plastic products. The community called for urgent action on single-use plastics when it was responding to the Turning the tide on single-use plastic products discussion paper released by the state government available  HERE.

  • What are the key dates?

    From March 1, 2021, single-use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers will be prohibited from 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 straws. These products will still be able to be sold interstate.

    From March 1, 2022, expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers will also be prohibited from sale, supply or distribution in South Australia, as well as oxo-degradable plastic products which will also be prohibited from manufacture and production in the state. Oxo-degradable plastic products have additives which enable the plastic to break down into tiny fragments (‘microplastics’) rather than completely decomposing.

    Additional items have been identified for phase-out from 1 September 2023, 1 September 2024 and 1 September 2025. Click on each year for further information

  • What are single-use plastic products?

    Single-use plastic products are designed or intended 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 litter. 

  • What is wrong with single-use plastic items?

    Too often, the way plastics are produced, used and discarded results in pollution, litter and harming marine life. Due to its slow decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and beaches worldwide. Globally, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year. 

  • How is plastic defined in the legislation?

    The legislation defines plastic as a material made from, or comprising, organic polymers whether plant extracts or of fossil fuel origin.

  • When will other plastic products be prohibited?

    The community has called for urgent action by the government to address single-use and other plastic products. The legislation establishes a framework for adding extra products over time.  

    For information on the next steps:  CLICK HERE

  • Are the rules different for different businesses?

    Manufacturers, producers, wholesalers and distributors – referred to as ‘prescribed persons’ – face higher penalties under the legislation. 

    An exemption to allow the continued sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic drinking straws to people who require them for disability or medical needs is being developed. This may result in certain businesses being able to sell, supply and distribute single-use plastic drinking straws.

    Businesses that manufacture or produce oxo-degradable plastic products will not be able to do so from March 1 2022.