Queensland is set to ban plastic microbeads, polystyrene packing peanuts and plastic-stemmed cotton buds by 1 September 2023 with the State Government unveiling its proposed five-year roadmap to phase out harmful, single-use plastics.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the mass release of lighter-than-air balloons will also be banned next year, while new minimum standards will be introduced for heavy plastic bags requiring them to be tested for reusability and the ability to be recycled once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan.
The roadmap comes off the back of new survey results, which showed 91 per cent of Queenslanders backed further bans on single-use plastics, as well as consultation with peak retail and environment groups.
“Single-use plastics are problematic, and Queenslanders have made it clear they want to give more of them the punt,” the Minister said, kicking off Plastic Free July.
“They don’t breakdown, they fill up our dumps and they kill wildlife.
The Queensland Government phased out single-use lightweight shopping bags in 2018 and last year banned a number of single-use plastics food products like straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, unenclosed bowls, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway containers and EPS cups.
“It’s great to see so many businesses already taking voluntary measures and going beyond our bans, and it is time to support those voluntary commitments and strengthen our actions in the fight against plastic pollution.
“Our roadmap will phase out other problematic single-use plastics over the next five years, including the aim to phase out disposable coffee cups and lids following work with other states and territories. Of course, we will continue to work with retailers, community groups and suppliers so they have the alternative products in place.
“That’ll begin with getting to work straight away on replacements for coffee cups through an Innovation Challenge – with further details to be announced soon – to get Queensland businesses working on the alternatives we need.”
“We understand these changes can have an impact on businesses and we will work with them to ensure they are ready.”
Minister Scanlon said together with the roadmap, the government would continue working to reduce single-use plastics and prevent plastic pollution.
“We will continue to deliver and support initiatives to address problematic plastic pollution including ongoing support for the Plastic Free Places Program which assists businesses in regional Queensland to eliminate six key single-use plastic items,” she said.
“We will also continue to support the highly successful Container Refund Scheme which, by creating an incentive to collect and return beverage containers – including plastic containers – helps put the circular economy into practice.”
View the proposed five-year roadmap here.