Queensland ditches single-use plastic

By Jack Waters

HAVE you noticed a change in packaging at your favourite local café or takeaway restaurant lately? There’s certainly a good reason for it.

From Wednesday, September 1, the Queensland Government will ban the use and supply of single-use plastic items across the state in a bid to tackle plastic pollution.

The ban includes plastic straws, plates, bowls, cutlery and expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and cups.

The changes were met with an outpouring of support when they were announced in March this year. 

Landsborough local and spokesperson for War on Waste Glasshouse Country Liz Harris said the group was delighted with the ban.

“There are so many alternative materials such as bamboo, wheat straw, sugarcane and cardboard available,” Liz said.

“We are particularly pleased with the ban on polystyrene takeaway containers, which is a plastic that is particularly harmful when it escapes into our waterways and breaks down quickly into microplastics.

“This simple change will mean that there will be millions fewer pieces of plastic sitting around in landfills for hundreds of years after only being used for a few minutes.”

Half of all plastics produced around the world are designed to be used only once, making it a huge contributor to the 300 million tonnes of plastic waste created each year.

Heather Andrews at The Orangery Maleny didn’t wait until the ban was introduced to use more environmentally sustainable alternatives for packaging in her café. She has been proudly using them since she opened the café.

And while she does have paper straws available, she actively encourages her customers to choose not to use them wherever she can as this means an even better outcome for our environment.

Single-use alternatives can still be used by businesses but must be made of biodegradable components that meet Australian standards.

Penalties may apply for businesses and not-for-profit organisations that supply banned single-use items.

Clinics or facilities that provide care to people with a disability or health needs, including hospitals, dental clinics, medical clinics, pharmacies, aged care facilities and medical suppliers, will be exempt from the ban.

For more information, head to www.qld.gov.au/plasticsban

Main image: Takeaway delights from The Orangery Maleny