WA single-use plastic cup ban takes effect; coffee cups are next
Stage One of Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics is now complete with single-use plastic cups officially banned from October 1.
The state government announced its Plan for Plastics last year in June, detailing a roadmap towards a sustainable, plastic-free state.
Nine items have been phased out since July as part of the first stage including plates, cutlery, drink stirrers, thick plastic bags, drinking straws, expanded polystyrene food containers, helium balloon releases and unlidded containers. These bans will save 430 million single-use plastics from landfill or litter in WA each year, with cold cups accounting for more than 40 per cent.
The state is now working on a transition timeframe for products that will be banned under stage 2 of the program, including single-use plastic coffee cups. Submissions are being taken online here until November 18 with a progressive phase-out to begin in February.
The state says disposable options will also still exist, with certified compostable cups and lids excluded from the ban and already widely used by businesses.
WA’s environment minister Reece Whitby said many businesses have already completed the transition.
“This is another positive step in reducing our impact on the environment, which has the public’s overwhelming support. The state continues to lead the way in tackling single-use plastics.”
Collectively, the bans are expected to eliminate large amounts of single-use plastics every year, including 300 million plastic straws, 50 million pieces of plastic cutlery and more than 110 million thick plastic shopping bags.
People that require single-use plastic items such as those in the disability, aged care and health sectors, will be ensured a continued supply as compostable disposable options such as lids and cups can be used by businesses.
Fast-food chain McDonald’s has already replaced some 17.5 million plastic cold beverage cups and lids in its McCafes across the state, in an Australian first, removing an estimated 140 tonnes of plastic circulation annually.
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