Queensland has banned single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates along with polystyrene foam food containers, and coffee cups could be next.
The government will consult with businesses before any further bans are brought in, but Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon has confirmed more restrictions are likely.
“There’s been a lot of commentary around things like coffee cups, a range of other plastics, so we’ll be making sure that we’re consulting widely around what the next phase of those products are,” she said on Thursday.
Businesses will have until September 1 to stop using items listed under the first stage of the ban.
“Queensland really is ahead when it comes to the rest of the country on single use plastics, but we want to make sure that we’re continuing to progress with this,” Ms Scanlon said.
The Sunshine State now joins Western Australia in equal first place according to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s ranking for addressing single-use plastic.
“It’s incredible to see the plastics scorecard create a race to the top. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen South Australia’s plastic bans begin and Victoria announce its plan to ban a range of single-use plastic items,” WWF’s Katinka Day said
“NSW is now the biggest state lagging behind. It’s time for the NSW government to follow Queensland’s example and announce its own plans to address plastic pollution.”
Following the passage of laws in state parliament on Wednesday, Ms Scanlon said there was overwhelming community support for banning such products.
“Plastic pollution is spoiling our streets and parks, escaping into our ocean and waterways and killing our iconic wildlife,” she said in a statement.
“Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once and then thrown away and that litter is destroying our environment.”
She said that during community consultations some 94 per cent of the 20,000 respondents involved supported the proposal to ban such items.
The legislation makes provision for more single-use items to be banned through regulation in the future.
Australian Associated Press