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Single-use Plastic FAQs - Restricted and Prohibited Items

Restricted and Prohibited Single-Use Plastic Products

  • What are examples of compostable (bioplastic) plastic products?

    Compostable (bioplastic) plastic products include Polylactic Acid (PLA). Products lined with compostable plastic, including PLA, are also considered a prohibited plastic product under the legislation.

  • What are examples of fossil-fuel derived plastic products?

    Fossil-fuel derived plastic products include Polypropylene (PP) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Products lined with plastic are also considered prohibited plastic products under the legislation.

  • What is banned from March 1 2021?

    The legislation includes both fossil-fuel derived plastic and compostable (bioplastic) plastic products (such as Polylactic Acid - PLA), but only for the prohibited plastic products listed in the legislation.  These products will be restricted/prohibited from March 1, 2021.
    Please see the Prohibited Items page for sample images. 

    Single-Use Plastic Drinking Straws

    Any straw made from, or comprising, fossil-fuel derived plastic and/or compostable plastic which is designed or intended to be used once, or a limited number of times before being thrown away.Exemptions will apply for people who require single-use plastic straws due to a disability or medical needs. Exemptions will also apply for pre-packaged and attached products. 

    Single-Use Plastic Stirrers

    Any stirrer made from, or comprising, fossil-fuel derived plastic or compostable plastic which is designed or intended to be used once or a limited number of times before being thrown away.

    Single-Use Plastic Cutlery

    Any utensil that can be used to eat food. This includes spoons, forks, knives, sporks, splayds and chopsticks which are designed or intended to be used once or a limited number of time before being thrown away Exemptions will apply for pre-packaged and attached products.


  • Why are bioplastic products prohibited?

    The legislation includes both fossil-fuel derived plastic and compostable (bioplastic) plastic products (such as Polylactic Acid - PLA), but only for the prohibited plastic products listed in the legislation. Bioplastics are not a suitable alternative for single-use straws, cutlery and stirrers. While compostable plastic products can break down in industrial composting facilities, they can also cause pollution and harm to marine life in the same way as conventional, fossil-fuel plastic products if they enter the environment.

    Read the fact sheets HERE.


Expanded Polystyrene Products

  • What about EPS (foam) trays? Are they also prohibited from 1 March 2022?

    No –Expanded polystyrene (foam) trays (such as those used for packaging fruit or meat) are not currently included in the legislation, and can continue to be sold, supplied and distributed from 1 March 2022 and until further notice.


    Retailers are still encouraged to use recyclable trays and non-plastic trays when feasible. EPS trays have also been identified for possible inclusion in South Australia’s single-use plastics legislation. See page 33 in South Australian Government’s Turning the Tide 2021 discussion paper HERE.

  • What about cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers made from other types of plastic? Are these prohibited too?

    On 1 March 2022, the legislation will only prohibit the sale, supply or distribution of expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers.


    Disposable food and beverage containers that are made from or comprise other types of plastic, such as PP and PET, can continue to sold, supplied and distributed in South Australia until further notice and provided that these products do not contain oxo-degradable additives.


    South Australia’s single-use plastics legislation includes provisions to allow other products to be added to the list of prohibited plastic products, subject to consultation processes. Other food containers, made from other types of plastic, are currently being considered for inclusion within SA’s legislation. For further information, see the South Australian Government’s Turning the Tide 2021 discussion paper HERE.

  • What about gelato tubs? Are these prohibited from 1 March 2022?

    No - EPS gelato tubs used for takeaway purchases are not considered 'prohibited plastic products' on 1 March 2022.


    South Australia’s single-use plastics legislation includes provisions to allow other products to be added to the list of prohibited plastic products, subject to consultation processes. Other consumer EPS food containers are currently being considered for inclusion within SA’s legislation. For further information, see the South Australian Government’s Turning the Tide 2021 discussion paper HERE.

  • What do I do with excess stock?

    • Talk to your supplier about options for relocating stock interstate:
      The legislation does not prohibit the distribution of expanded polystyrene products interstate. Therefore, EPS cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers can continue to be sold and supplied to interstate customers, unless single-use plastic restrictions also apply in those states and territories.

    • Identify disposal options:
      Unfortunately, these items are not recyclable via kerbside recycling bins or in specialist recycling facilities. EPS cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers can only be disposed of via the general waste to landfill bin. 
      Before disposing of these items, you may like to consider whether they could be used for other purposes prior to being discarded. For example, for art, craft and science activities, or for growing seedlings.

    Further information on how to dispose of a range of expanded polystyrene products is available HERE

  • What about any prohibited plastic items I have at home? Can I use these up?

    South Australia’s single-use plastics legislation restricts the sale, supply or distribution of certain products. It does not prohibit the use of items that have been purchased for personal use ahead of the legislation commencing. Therefore, householders will be permitted to use up their supply of any expanded polystyrene bowl, cups, plates and clamshell containers, and any oxo-degradable plastic products they may have purchased ahead of 1 March 2022.


    Before disposing of these items, you may like to consider whether they could be used for other purposes prior to being discarded. For example, art, craft and science activities, or for growing seedlings.

  • How can I correctly dispose of expanded polystyrene products, cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers?

    Unfortunately, these items are not recyclable via kerbside recycling bins or in specialist recycling facilities. EPS cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers can only be disposed of via the general waste to landfill bin.

    Further information on how to dispose of a range of expanded polystyrene products is available HERE

  • How is the legislation enforced, and what penalties apply for businesses that continue to sell, supply or distribute prohibited products after 1 March 2022?

    Enforcement of the legislation is undertaken by Authorised Officers from the Environment Protection Authority under South Australia’s Environment Protection Act 1993.

    The EPA uses discretion when responding to any breaches of the legislation and can respond to non-compliance in various ways, ranging from providing verbal and written warnings through to expiations and prosecution. 

    If you have concerns about banned products being supplied and would like to report a business, please contact the Environment Protection Authority HERE.

     

    Offences and penalties that apply to prohibited plastic products, including certain EPS food containers, are:

     

    Offence Description


    Expiation Amount


    Max. Court Penalty Amount


    Section of SUP Act

    Wholesaler/distributor selling, supplying or distributing prohibited plastic products in course of carrying on a business as a wholesaler or distributor.

     


    $1,000


    $20,000


    7 (1) (a)








    Person selling, supplying or distributing prohibited plastic products in course of carrying on a business.

     


    $315


    $5,000


    7 (1) (b)








    Person selling, supplying or distributing prohibited plastic products representing that a product is not a prohibited plastic product.


    $1,000


    $20,000


    8

     

  • What about the EPS noodle cups in supermarkets?

    The South Australian government has acknowledged that pre-packaged products, such as expanded polystyrene cups and bowls used to package ‘ready-to-eat’ noodles, will take a longer time to transition to alternatives. Therefore, there is a current exemption to exclude these ‘pre-packaged’ EPS products from the legislation. 

    The South Australian Government will continue to monitor the progress of industry in phasing these products out and may remove the exemption at a later date.

    Further information on this exemption can be found HERE and also in South Australia’s Turning the Tide 2021 discussion paper (see page 34) HERE.


Oxo-degradable plastic Products

  • What types of products are known to contain oxo-degradable additives?

    Plastic items that commonly contain oxo-degradable additives are:

    • Supermarket produce bags
    • Magazine wraps
    • Dry cleaning bags
    • Kitchen products (e.g. piping bags)
    • Bin liners
    • Garbage bags
    • Pet waste bags
    • Litter tray liners
    • Bubble wrap
    • Sticking tape
    • Padded envelopes

  • How can I identify oxo-degradable plastic?

    1. Look for logos that can tell you it ISN’T oxo-degradable.
      The following logos indicate that a product is certified compostable and is NOT oxo-degradable.

    2. Look for the term ‘oxo-degradable’ on the product or its packaging.
      Other terms that could suggest that the product is a prohibited product in South Australia include: ‘oxo-biodegradable, ‘degradable’ and ‘fragmentable’ - plus many other terms.
      Further information may be required to determine that these products are prohibited in SA.

    3. Look for information about what the products claims to do. For example, does it claim to ‘fragment’ but isn’t certified compostable? Does it ‘break down’ in the open environment (on land or in water), but also contains fossil fuel-derived plastic?

    4. If you are still unsure whether the product is an oxo-degradable plastic product, CONTACT US for further guidance.

  • How is oxo-degradable plastic defined in the legislation?

    In the legislation:

    Oxo-degradable plastic means:

    ‘a material (however described) made of plastic which includes additives to accelerate the fragmentation of the material into smaller pieces, triggered by ultraviolet radiation or heat exposure, whether or not this is, or may be, followed by partial or complete breakdown of the material by microbial action’.

    See HERE to access the legislation in full.

     

  • What can I use in place of oxo-degradable packaging products?

    The legislation does not prohibit the sale, supply or distribution of pet waste bags, bin liners, and other packaging products that do not contain oxo-degradable additives.


    Therefore, alternatives to oxo-degradable plastic products are currently:


    FOR PRODUCTS THAT ARE INTENDED TO AND WILL BE SENT TO LANDFILL:

    • conventional fossil fuel derived plastic products (such as PET, LDPE, HPDE)
    • bio-based non-biodegradable plastic (such as bio-polyethylene Bio PE, bio-polypropylene Bio PP and bio-polyethylene terephalate Bio PET).
      These plastics acts in a similar manner to conventional fossil fuel-derived plastic and cannot be composted in a home compost bin or in industrial composting facilities. 

    For further information on bio-based plastics SEE HERE

     

    FOR PRODUCTS THAT ARE INTENDED TO AND WILL BE COMPOSTED:

    Look for products certified to the Australian Standards:AS 5810 and AS 4736

     

    Products certified to AS 5810 can go in your home compost bin.

    Products certified to AS 4736 can be processed in industrial composting facilities and can be placed in the kerbside green organics bin*.

    *Check the South Australia's Which Bin website to confirm that your council accepts products certified to these standards.

  • What do I do with excess stock? Oxo-degradable Plastics.

    From 1 March 2022, it is an offence to distribute oxo-degradable products outside of South Australia, whether interstate or overseas. Therefore, options for managing leftover oxo-degradable products are limited.


    Please contact Green Industries SA via EMAIL or on 08 8204 2051 if you are seeking advice on managing this excess stock.


    If you are seeking to dispose of this stock:

    • Please dispose of the items in a general waste to landfill bin.


    Note: Oxo-degradable products are not designed to break down in industrial composting facilities and are considered a contaminant in the recycling stream. They must not be disposed of in the kerbside green organics bin and must not be disposed of in home composting systems.

  • What about any prohibited plastic items I have at home? Can I use these up?

    South Australia’s single-use plastics legislation restricts the sale, supply or distribution of certain products. It does not prohibit the use of items that have been purchased for personal use ahead of the legislation commencing. Therefore, householders will be permitted to use up their supply of oxo-degradable plastic products they may have purchased ahead of 1 March 2022.

  • How can I correctly dispose of oxo-degradable plastic products?

    Please dispose of the items in a general waste to landfill bin.


    Note: Oxo-degradable products are not designed to break down in industrial composting facilities and are considered a contaminant in the recycling stream. They must not be disposed of in the green organics kerbside bin and must not be disposed of in home composting systems.

  • How is the legislation enforced, and what penalties apply for businesses that continue to sell, supply, distribute, manufacture or produce oxo-degradable products after 1 March 2022?

    Enforcement of the legislation is undertaken by Authorised Officers from the Environment Protection Authority under South Australia’s Environment Protection Act 1993.


    The EPA uses discretion when responding to any breaches of the legislation and can respond to non-compliance in various ways, ranging from providing verbal and written warnings through to expiations and prosecution. 


    If you have concerns about banned products being supplied and would like to report a business, please contact the Environment Protection Authority [HERE].

     

    Offences and penalties that apply to oxo-degradable plastic products are:

     

    Offence Description

     

    Expiation Amount

     

    Max. Court Penalty Amount

     

    Section of SUP Act

    Person manufactures or produces oxo-degradable plastic products in course of carrying on a business.


    $1,000


    $20,000


    9








    Wholesaler/distributor selling, supplying or distributing oxo-degradable plastic products in course of carrying on a business as a wholesaler or distributor.


    $1,000


    $20,000


    10 (1) (a)








    Person selling, supplying or distributing oxo-degradable plastic products in course of carrying on a business.


    $315


    $5,000


    10 (1) (b)








    Failure to provide manufacturer's or producer's certification as to oxo-degradable plastic content of plastic products.


    -


    $20,000


    11 (1)








    Failure to provide distributor’s certification as to oxo-degradable plastic content of plastic products.


    -


    $20,000


    11 (2)








    Person must not represent that product is not comprised of oxo-degradable plastic.


    -


    $30,000


    12