The new single-use plastics ban explained

Date: 26-07-2021

By now you’ve probably heard that the Queensland Government has passed legislation to ban single-use plastic products such as plastic straws, cutlery, and take-away containers from September 1, 2021, but understanding exactly what products fall within the ban and what industries are exempt, can be confusing to navigate. Are coffee cups included? How does the ban impact COVID-Safe measures? How will the ban be enforced? You’ll find the answers to all the important questions below.

First things first, what items are included in the ban?

As part of the Queensland Government’s bid to reduce plastic waste and pollution, they have banned businesses from supplying the following items;

  • Single-use Plastic Straws – regular straws, flexible straws, straws with a scoop, cocktail straws and bubble tea straws
  • Plastic Stirrers – hot or cold drink stirrers, swizzle sticks and hot or cold food stirrers
  • Single-use Plastic Plates and Bowls including single-use expanded polystyrene plates
  • Single-use Plastic knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, sample tasting spoons (i.e. ice-cream spoons), soup spoons, chopsticks, splayds and sporks
  • Expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers, clams and cups (including coffee cups)

What items are exempt?

Under the current legislations, the following items are exempt;

  • single-use plastic alternatives that are made from compostable plastic and meet Australian Standards
  • plastic straws and cutlery attached to shelf-ready, pre-packaged items (i.e juice poppas and yoghurts)
  • sushi containers
  • plastic triangular sandwich containers
  • food containers with a plastic window (i.e. bakery and grazing box containers)
  • bowls with lids
  • serving platters and trays
  • foam or plastic trays such as meat and packaged fruit and vegetable trays

What are some of the alternatives available?

While lots of everyday packaging items are included in the ban, there’s now a suite of alternative packaging options available that are lot better for the environment. These items can be replaced with anything made from paper, cardboard, bamboo, straw, wood, compostable plastic, biogasse, sugar cane, stainless steel, glass and reusable plastic.

What businesses/industries have to comply, and which ones are exempt?

The ban applies to ALL types of businesses except clinics or facilities that provide care to people with a disability or healthcare needs, hospitals, dentists, medical clinics/GPs, pharmacies, aged care facilities and medical suppliers.

Party suppliers, supermarkets, not-for-profit organisations, charities, and clubs are NOT exempt and must also abide by the new legislation.

What about schools?

Schools and childcare centres may continue to supply students and staff with a disability or healthcare need with the single-use plastic items they need however, people who require the banned item/s must obtain them from the administration office. They can’t simply be freely available.

How will the ban be enforced?

After September 1, businesses and not-for-profit organisations who do not comply with the legislation may incure a fine.

How can I comply with the ban an remain COVID-Safe?

Thanks to COVID, the frequency with which single-use plastic items are used throughout our everyday life has increased for hygiene purposes however the ban won’t prevent us from still ensuring some things remain single use – they must just to be made from a more sustainable material. For example, if you wish to still provide individual stirring sticks rather than stainless steel teaspoons for hot drinks, consider using wooden stirrers instead.

What should I do to make sure I comply?

With September 1 now less than a few months away, businesses are encouraged to identify which of the above banned items they utilise or provide to customers before selecting and sourcing a viable alternative from your local PacPlus store. While we have plenty of stock on hand, it’s best to do this as soon as possible to ensure you have time to select the alternatives that best-suit your business, avoid the last minute rush and plan how you’ll use up any excess single-use plastic items you still have on hand before the ban is enforced on September 1.

You can browse our extensive range of ban-compliant, eco-friendly packaging solutions here or can call your nearest store to place an order or get more information about any of our products. Once you place you eco-friendly packaging order with us and make the transition to single-use plastic free, your business will also be eligible to receive a PacPlus ‘Seal of Approval’ sticker for display at your premises to promote your commitment to the environment.

Still a little confused or unsure what eco-friendly alternatives might suit your specific business needs? Give your local store a call and our friendly team will be more than happy to chat through your options.

PacPlus Rockhampton: (07) 4926 1681

PacPlus Bundaberg: (07) 4151 1324

Mackay Cleaning and Packaging Solutions: (07) 4953 0200