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August 25, 2023 3 min read

Welcome back GFZ’s! 

This week we will be looking at Australia’s single-use plastics ban. Whilst we have already seen some of the bans from across the states take place, we have some new updates to the progress of the roadmap, and we are taking a closer look at the differences between the states, how small businesses are participating, and the changes you will start to see!

Banning single-use plastics is a massive step in the right direction, as plastic takes hundreds of years to break down and often end up in our waterways, in the air, .... We’re not going to let plastic win!


Let’s start by spilling the tea on plastics in Australia…

This part is not pretty but we'll get to the good news after!

  • Australians use 1.8 billion disposable coffee cups per year. Say what now?
  • 84% of plastic is sent to landfill and only 13% is recycled (hmmm, where is the other 3%)
  • Every year, the average Aussie dispose 100kgs of plastics.
  • 1 million tonnes of Australia’s plastic consumption are single-use plastics.
  • By 2025, 99% of seabirds worldwide would have ingested plastic.
  • By 2040, the world will double its use of plastics. 
  • By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish… 

Not on our watch! 

Onto the good news, and the pathway to turn those stats into myths! 

In 2021, state and territory governments in Australia signed a voluntary national agreement to say ‘sayonara’ to the eight types of unnecessary plastic waste, which includes: bags, mislabelled ‘degradable’ items, utensils, stirrers, straws, polystyrene food containers, polystyrene consumer goods packaging, and microbeads in personal care products. This was achieved by 2023 in most states, except NT and Tasmania, which aim to accomplish this by 2025…

We love that Australian states are in a race to become the first state to ban single-use plastics entirely, however, this has caused some plastic items to be banned only in certain states. It's a bit confusing to us.

A closer look at the timeline by state…

By September 2023, there will be sustainable alternatives to plastic-stemmed cotton buds and single-use plastic bowls & plates throughout Australian states and territories, New Zealand, and Europe.

By September 2024, the ban on plastic produce bags will be introduced! 

Single-use coffee cups and lids will be banned by 2024 in SA and WA, with NT, QLD, NSW, and Tasmania having no immediate plans. This ban is still over a year away, yet small businesses, such as Inner Bean Coffee Van, provide customers with reusable cups which can be kept or returned.

Two years ago, Australia's environment ministers created a national plan for single-use plastic phase-outs to ensure all states are at the same point on their plastic-free journey. Strict regulations must be introduced to meet the plan's expectations and prevent companies from using hard-to-recycle plastics. Did you know coloured bottles can't be recycled either.... looking at you Mountain Dew and Sprite.

It's a good start, but we don't need to wait for the government...

There are many small things we can do at home like remembering to pop reusable bags in the car by writing 'reusable bags' on your shopping list (works a treat for us), grab bamboo earbuds, look for balloon alternatives, ... 

Join us in making Australia a plastic-free nation! Check out our blog on the 'Top 5 Zero-Waste On-The-Go Essentials'

Love from the Go For Zero team! Xx

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