Have impacts to businesses been considered?
The government established a stakeholder taskforce to help inform the development of the legislation. The taskforce comprises representatives of business, industry, local government and industry group as listed here..
A summary of submissions received on the draft Bill and the government’s response is available here..
How will the State Government help businesses to communicate the ban to customers?
Resources are being developed to help businesses with the ban on single-use plastic products. These resources will assist businesses to explain the ban to suppliers and customers. Resources will be translated and an advertising campaign will provide broader community awareness of the ban.
What alternatives to single-use plastic products are available?
Green Industries SA has engaged the Boomerang Alliance to implement the ‘Plastic-Free SA’ program, which is trialling several plastic-free precincts across the state. Through this program, businesses are transitioning from single-use plastic products to reusable and more sustainable alternatives.
The Plastic-Free SA website includes further information on alternatives to single-use plastic products. Green Industries SA will be providing information to South Australian businesses to help them to transition to alternative products.
What are single-use plastic products?
Single-use plastics are products, including packaging, that are designed to be used once, often away from home, and thrown away after a brief use. These items are particularly litter prone, and include small packaging, bags, straws, cutlery and disposable cups. The legislation defines single-use as a product designed or intended to be used once or for a limited number of times before being disposed of.
What is the problem with single-use plastic products?
Over recent times, there has been a steady increase in the volume of highly reputable international literature that addresses the problems with single-use plastic products. Due to its slow decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and beaches worldwide. Globally, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year. There are also significant economic impacts associated with plastic litter.
What is the purpose of the legislation?
The legislation restricts and prohibits the manufacture, production, distribution, sale and supply of certain single-use and other plastic products. It fulfils the government’s July 2019 announcement to develop legislation to address the impacts of single-use plastic products in response to the overwhelming feedback from the community in response to the Turning the tide on single-use plastic products discussion paper.
When will the legislation commence?
The legislation will come into operation on March 1, 2021. The government has previously communicated that from the date the legislation commences, single-use plastic straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers will be prohibited from sale, supply and distribution.
The expanded polystyrene food service products listed in the Act, as well as all oxo-degradable plastic products, will be prohibited 12 months following the commencement of the legislation.
Who is enforcing the legislation?
Environment Protection Authority Authorised Officers will enforce the legislation under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
Why can’t single-use plastic products be recycled through existing collection systems?
The single-use and other plastic products listed in the legislation are often used away from home and thrown away after a brief use. They are prone to entering the litter stream, cannot be recycled through conventional systems, and have wasted the embodied resources that have been invested in their production.
A large number of plastic containers can be recycled through yellow-lidded kerbside recycling bins and soft plastics can be recycled through local supermarkets. Items such as plastic straws cutlery and stirrers, and polystyrene food service items cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling bins either because they are difficult to recycle (e.g. expanded polystyrene) or are too small for recycling machinery (e.g. straws, cutlery and stirrers).
Guidance on what can and cannot be placed in kerbside recycling bins is available at www.whichbin.sa.gov.au/
Why is it focussed on plastic items?
Plastics play an important role in our economy and daily lives. However, too often, the way plastics are used and discarded impacts on the environment, including our oceans. The need to tackle problems associated with plastics is widely recognised. The legislation defines plastic as a material made from, or comprising, organic polymers whether plant extracts or fossil fuel origin.