31 March 2021

Media release: Plastic Reduction Bill a welcome start

The Conservation Council ACT Region welcomes the passing of new laws in the ACT Legislative Assembly that commence the phase out of single-use plastics in the ACT. 

“The passing of these new laws is the welcome first step to phasing out the sale and supply of wasteful and environmentally damaging single-use plastics in the ACT”,  said Helen Oakey, Executive Director.

“The news laws, passed in the Legislative Assembly late yesterday, ban the sale and use of expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic drink stirrers and plastic cutlery. These are all items that can be substituted with better, more sustainable products. 

“Plastic is not good for the environment. While plastic comes with very many convenient attributes – it’s light, malleable and adaptive – it also requires the use of fossil fuels to manufacture.  It has been predicted that that if demand for plastic continues to grow at its current rate of 4% a year, emissions from plastic production will reach 15% of global emissions by 2050.

“When thrown away, plastic is clogging our landfill and polluting our landscapes, waterways and the ocean. As it breaks down in the environment, residual micro-plastics are dispersed which are absorbed by plants and animals, and spread through the food chain.

“These new laws mean the ACT joins Queensland and South Australia in moving to prevent the sale of some single-use plastic products. 

“The ACT could become a national leader if it continues the momentum and moves to extend these restrictions to other products; firstly to fruit and vegetable barrier bags and straws, and then takeaway food containers, cotton buds, plates and bowls, heavy plastic shopping bags, and plastic take-away food containers.

“We need to rethink how we use plastic in our daily lives and implement different ways to cut plastic use, such as reusable food and drink containers schemes, refillable bottles and bubblers, and reusable bags made from products that don’t cost the earth. ” said Ms Oakey.

The legislated targets for phasing out single-use plastics must be ambitious to support the changes Canberrans are making at a household level.

Media comment:

Madeleine Gisz, Communications Manager, mobile 0426 672 160