WA rolls out ban on single-use plastics

Western Australia is set to ring in the new year with a ban on many single-use plastic items, including straws, cups and thick plastic bags.

In total, nine plastic items will be phased out from Saturday, with a transition period for businesses to use up supplies and adapt.

“It is time for Western Australia to take the next step towards a single-use plastic-free future,” Environment Minister Reece Whitby said on Friday.

Single-use plastic bowls, cups for cold beverages and hot foods, plates, cutlery, stirrers and straws will all be banned in WA from January 1, 2022.

Thick plastic bags, helium balloon releases and expanded polystyrene food containers are also prohibited.

The six-month transition period applies to all items, except cups which have an extended transition period to October 1, 2022, to give businesses time to source alternatives.

An education program will raise awareness about the ban and help the community to adapt.

Retailer and supplier education will start early next year to further support industry in moving to reusable or non-plastic single-use alternatives across the supply chain.

A broader state-wide “plastic free places” program is scheduled for launch in March to create partnerships with local governments, shopping centres, industry and community organisations to become single-use plastic free.

People that require single-use plastic straws to maintain their quality of life will be permitted to access them.

Stage two of WA’s plastic plan will be rolled out in 12 months and will include bans on plastic produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, and polystyrene packaging.

Microbeads, oxo-degradable plastics, plastic bowl and cup lids and polystyrene cups will also be prohibited.

The World Wide Fund for Nature Australia previously named WA twice as the top jurisdiction in Australia for its work on plastics.

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