The single-use plastics on the banned list

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The single-use plastics on the banned list
    Sustainability

Published 10 October 2022

Single-use plastics (designed to be used once and disposed of) may be cheap and convenient, but the cost to the environment is enormous.

The NSW Government is taking steps towards going "plastic-free" with a ban on certain single-use plastic products.

The Plastic Ban

On 1 June 2022, the supply of lightweight plastic bags was banned in NSW.

From 1 November 2022,  the supply of single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, bowls and plates and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items will be banned in NSW. The supply of single-use plastic cotton buds and microbeads in rinse-off personal care products will also be banned state-wide.

The NSW Government has put together a handy website detailing all you need to know that the plastics ban. Take a look here: dpe.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/plastics-ban-nsw

Attend an information session

NSW Plastics Ban - Weekly 'pop-in' Q&A sessions for impacted organisations

The National Retail Association, on behalf of NSW Government, are hosting weekly online Q&A sessions from 10am - 11am on Fridays (until 11 November) as well as an online 'pop-in' session on Wednesday 26 October at 10am, designed for retailers, hospitality, suppliers or community organisations directly impacted by the NSW ban to 'pop in', ask us questions and clarify their obligations.

Register for FREE

The next round of plastic bans will take place from 1 November 2022.

Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery

What items are banned:

  • single-use plastic straws, stirrers and swizzle sticks, and cutlery, including forks, spoons, knives, sporks, splayds, chopsticks, and food picks, will be banned.
  • The bans applies even if these items are made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics, or bio-plastics. This includes those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.

What can you use instead:

  • When ordering takeaway food, do not take accept single-use cutlery if you don't need it. Instead, opt to use reusable cutlery made from metal, glass or ceramic.
  • If you are a business, only offer single-use cutlery upon request. For in-store dining, supply your customers with dishwasher-safe reusable utensils.
  • If you still need disposable alternatives, consider options manufactured from paper, wood or bamboo. Ensure that alternatives are not made from or do not contain compostable plastics and are certified food safe.

What items are still allowed:

  • serving utensils such as salad servers or tongs
  • items that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages or are included within or attached to that packaging, through a machine-automated process (such as a straw attached to a juice box or a spoon included with a yogurt).
  • Exemptions apply in certain settings to ensure continued access to single-use plastic straws for people with a disability or medical need.
  • Businesses who serve food or drinks, such as cafes and pubs, can provide a single straw from behind the counter on request to people with a disability or medical need. Straws must not be freely available or visible to customers.

Single use plastics ban

Single-use plastic bowls and plates

What items are banned:

  • single-use plastic bowls and plates (including those made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics, or bio-plastics).

What can you use instead:

  • If you are ordering takeaway food, you could bring your own reusable containers to store the food.
  • If you are a business, you could encourage your customers to bring reusable containers and make use of reusable bowls and plates for in-store dining.
  • If you need a disposable alternative, use products that are made from paper, carboard, sugarcane pulp (bagasse), wood or bamboo. However keep in mind that you can only put paper plates in recycling if they don't have a wax coating and aren't too contaminated with food. In addition bamboo plates cannot go into the recycling (yellow or green) bins so it's best to stick with reusable containers if at all possible.

What items are still allowed:

  • single-use plastic bowls designed or intended to have a spill-proof lid, such as those used for a takeaway soup.
  • plates or bowls that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages (such as a plastic plate included in a frozen meal).

Expanded polystyrene food service items

What items are banned:

  • expanded polystyrene food service items (EPS), such as clamshells, cups, plates and bowls will be banned in NSW.

What can you use instead:

  • If you are ordering takeaway food, you could bring your own reusable containers to store the food.
  • If you are a business, you could encourage your customers to bring reusable containers and make use of reusable bowls and plates for in-store dining.
  • If you need a disposable alternative, use products that are made from paper, carboard, sugarcane pulp (bagasse), wood or bamboo. However ensure that these products are not made from or do not contain compostable plastic and are certified food safe.

What items are still allowed:

  • EPS fresh produce trays such as those used for raw meat, seafood, fruit or vegetables
  • EPS packaging, including consumer and business-to-business packaging and transport containers
  • EPS food service items that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages, or are including within or attached to that packaging, through a machine-automated process

Single-use plastic cotton buds and microbeads in certain personal care products

What items are banned:

  • all single-use plastic cotton buds
  • rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads, such as face and body cleansers, exfoliants and masks, shampoo, conditioner, hair dyes, and toothpaste. will be banned within NSW.

What can you use instead:

  • Consider whether you can transition to reusable silicon cotton buds with replaceable swabs, which have now entered the market.
  • If you still need a disposable option, pick cotton buds made with paper or bamboo sticks.

What items are still allowed:

  • reusable cotton bud sticks, such as those with replaceable ends
  • single-use cotton buds with wooden, bamboo or paper stems.

Manufacturers have been phasing out microbeads in personal care products for some time, with approximately 99.3% of products microbead free.

The first round of plastic bans took place place from 1 June 2022:

Lightweight plastic bags

What items are banned:

  • Lightweight plastic shopping bags
  • Lightweight bags made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics, or bio-plastics are also banned, including those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.

Most items made from compostable plastic and bioplastic do not biodegrade unless they are specifically treated in a commercial composting facility. They can create just as big a problem as conventional plastic.

What can you use instead:

  • Shop at a bulk food store and avoid plastic packaging by re-filling your own container.
  • Make it a habit to carry a reusable shopping bag wherever you go.
  • Reuse a delivery box to carry your groceries
  • If you do need a disposable option, pick a bag that is sustainably sourced or produced from recycled paper.

What items are still allowed:

  • produce bags and deli bags
  • bin liners
  • human or animal waste bags
  • bags used to contain items for medical purposes
  • compostable liners for Kitchen to Compost service

Mandarins in a reusable produce bag

Go Plastic Free: How will you choose to refuse?
The easiest way to reduce your plastic use is to refuse the 'Big 4': plastic bags, bottles, coffee cups and straws. We share a few other ways you can reduce the plastic in your life.

More information

Get more details about the Single Use Plastic Ban for consumers and businesses

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