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May 31, 2024 3 min read

Welcome back GFZ's!

Let's talk about South Australia’s latest strides towards a greener future. In case you haven’t heard, South Australia’s Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 is the first legislation of its kind in Australia, and it's changing the game when it comes to reducing plastic waste.

We all know the way we produce, use, and discard plastic is a big problem. It turns valuable resources into pollution, which enters our environment and harms human and marine life.

South Australia is prioritising the care of our environment with a strong emphasis on ditching single-use plastics in favour of reusable or recyclable alternatives. The word is catching on in other states also, with many working towards similar road maps reducing plastics! 

Here’s a quick rundown of what's been happening in SA and what’s coming up:

Already Banned (March 2021):

  • Single-use (bio) plastic straws, cutlery, and stirrers are banned to be replaced by reusable and compostable alternatives. There are health and disability exemptions for straws, of course.

Banned (March 2022):

  • Expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, and clamshell containers are no longer allowed.
  • Oxo-degradable plastic products are also banned. These are the sneaky plastics that break down into tiny fragments (microplastics) and cause more harm than good.

Banned (September 2023):

  • Plastic-stemmed cotton buds (with exemptions for medical, scientific, forensic, or law enforcement use).
  • Single-use plastic bowls and plates.
  • Plastic pizza savers, those little plastic tripods that keep your pizza from sticking to the box, are out because they mess with recycling (and are silly). 

Upcoming Bans (1 September 2024):

  • Plastic "produce" bags (barrier bags) are getting the boot. These single-use items are not only used by many for produce, but also to transport raw meats, deli items and seafood from the store to home. Try switching to certified compostable alternatives or bring bags / containers from home.  
  • Thick supermarket plastic bags, are no more. These are the heavy weight plastic shopping bags or plastic-laminated paper shopping bags.
  • Single-use plastic beverage containers, including coffee cups, are on the chopping block. Western Australia has already taken this step too, woot woot!
  • Single-use plastic food containers. Yep, it’s time to remember your reusable containers or embrace those fibre and compostable alternatives. Did you know we have leak-proof food containers? And they are gorgeous too, meet Togo Sun here
  • More expanded polystyrene (EPS) food containers, like gelato tubs, will be banned. EPS trays for meat, fruit, and other foods will also be phased out.
  • Plastic confetti & balloon sticks/ties. Happy dance!
  • Food bag tags like bread tags are next. This also included the ones used to close rice cakes etc. There are already non-plastic alternatives available! The only exception is on bags of potatoes and carrots over 2 kg. For now...

Looking Ahead (1 September 2025):

  • Plastic fruit stickers, plastic soy-sauce fish containers, and pre-packaged products with plastic straws or cutlery will be phased out. The industry needs time to come up with sustainable alternatives, but it’s on the way.

So, there you have it! South Australia is leading the way, and it’s up to us to support these changes; like we say "vote with your dollar". Let’s make reusable and compostable options a habit and keep our beautiful communities clean and green. Together, we can make a big difference!

Much love GFZ's! Until next week we think you'll love this story about WA's Single-use Coffee Cup Ban: A Leap Towards Plastic-Free Living in Australia, it's another of our faves! 

GFZ Team xox 

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