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Talking Points

About the new laws – from March 1, 2021

  • The South Australian state government is introducing new laws to prohibit or restrict some single-use plastic products being sold, supplied or distributed in the state.
  • From March 1, 2021 single-use plastic straws will be restricted, and single-use plastic cutlery and stirrers will be banned. 
  • There will be exemptions for single-use plastic straws to ensure these can still be accessed by people with disabilities or medical needs. 
  • Details on how these single-use plastic straws will be accessed are being finalised.
  • There are serious penalties for not complying with the legislation.


About the new laws – from March 1, 2022

  • From March 1, 2022 expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers will be banned. 
  • Oxo-degradable plastic products will be banned from manufacture and production in the state.
  • Oxo-degradable plastic products have additives that cause the plastic to break down into tiny fragments called ‘microplastics' which don’t completely decompose.


The state government campaign

  • The state government is running the Replace the Waste campaign to help business and the community understand the new law and prepare for any changes.
  • The replacethewaste.sa.gov.au website and a business helpline - 1800 844 946 - are the key ways to get more information or request help.
  • Advertising will run in February and March to ensure the community is aware of the changes and there will be a Replace the Waste campaign on Facebook.


What’s wrong with single-use plastics?

  • Unfortunately many customers don’t dispose of plastic items in a responsible manner. Much of it is littered or overflows from bins into waterways.
  • Plastics never break down, they just get smaller and turn into plastic dust which can leach into our waterways and even into our food chain.
  • Plastic litter is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of seabirds, turtles, penguins and dolphins each year.


Key statistics

  • Takeaway food and beverage packaging makes up more than one third of the litter found on Australian beaches.
  • In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once — and then thrown away. 
  • At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean per minute.
  • For more information CLICK HERE


How does this affect my business? 

  • Explain your decision regarding whether you will continue to provide single-use plastic straws for people with a disability and health needs.
  • Explain and show the alternative products you will be providing/stocking, for example:
    • Single-use or multiple-use utensils will be available or offered only on request
    • No alternatives will be provided for some items, for example, beverage stirrers
  • If choosing paper and wood single-use products:
    • Explain these are a better alternative to plastic because
      • 100% of paper and wood products can be recycled or composted in South Australia; and
      • If these products enter the environment, they will break down in the natural environment over time – unlike plastics which break down into tiny fragments.


Responding to customer queries

  • There is overwhelming community support for the bans, but some customers may be less prepared or unhappy with the changes. 
  • Explain what your business is doing in response to the new law, for example:
    • Displaying  notices explaining the law (download from replacethewaste.sa.gov.au)
    • Placing Point of Sale material at the register to remind customers about the ban.
    • Remind customers the ban has been introduced by the South Australian government and is being applied to all businesses in the state.
    • Explain that businesses face significant penalties if banned items are supplied.
    • Explain that the ban is helping to protect the environment by avoiding waste, reducing litter and the harm to wildlife, including marine life.
    • Give customers a contact card with the state government’s replacethewaste.sa.gov.au details.

More information

Visit replacethewaste.sa.gov.au

Call the helpline 1800 844 946

Email sup@sa.gov.au