Queensland will ban single-use plastic items such as straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates – and potentially polystyrene containers – from next year.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon introduced legislation to state parliament on Thursday to ban the supply and sale of single-use plastics from September 2021.
The proposed ban comes after the government previously outlawed single-use plastic bags in 2018.
“Importantly, we’ve consulted broadly to ensure that these changes reflect what Queenslanders want,” Ms Scanlon told parliament on Thursday.
“In March 2020, we asked Queenslanders to decide the future of single-use plastic items, and the overwhelming majority were in favour a ban.
She said 94 per cent of the 20,000 respondents in the government survey supported a ban on single-use plastic items.
While single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates are certain to be banned, the government could also ban single-use expanded polystyrene at the same time.
Ms Scanlon promised to widely consult both industry and consumers about banning polystyrene food containers and cups.
“In recognition of the fact that this has been a difficult year for many small businesses in the hospitality sector, the ban’s start date will be no earlier than 1 September 2021, and we will confirm the start date once the bill passes in early 2021,” she said.
“This will allow businesses and the hospitality industry time to source appropriate products and further consultation to occur.”
She also promised that disability, aged care and the health sectors would be given special exemptions from the ban.
Queensland Disability Advisory Council chair Sharon Boyce said while straws were vital for the disability community, they were eager to help find alternatives.
“In addition to being advocates for our own needs, many within our community are also strong environmental advocates,” she said in a statement.
“We recognise the urgent need to find a solution that works for us and keeps destructive straws out of our environment, our waterways, our parks and our wider community.”