We better get used to it, Queensland. From next July, single-use plastic will be banned in the Sunshine State.
The new laws passed parliament on Tuesday night, along with a new container refund scheme which will see most beverage containers attract a 10-cent refund.
It’s hoped the new measures will reduce the amount of waste ending up in our waterways and ocean and putting animals in danger.
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“An estimated 2.4 billion beverage containers and one billion lightweight plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland every year,” Environment Minister Steven Miles told parliament.
“These are ending up in our waterways and killing and maiming our native animals,” Dr Miles said.
The move has been welcomed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
“This new law sets the gold standard for waste reduction in Australia,” James Cordwell, AMCS Marine Campaigner said.
“With the tide of ocean plastic pollution on the rise, Queensland is showing leadership in tackling this problem.”
According to the Keep Australia Beautiful Litter Index, Queensland is the most polluted state in Australia and you only have to take a walk along a Gold Coast beach to see the evidence.
“Our coastlines are being littered with millions of plastic pieces,” Mr Cordwell said. “Eleven items of plastic, on average, are found along every metre of beach from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast.”
“This new law has the potential to reduce Queensland’s plastic litter by half – drastically cutting the plastic that ends up in our oceans, entangling or choking marine wildlife.”
But, Mr Cordwell called on the Government to do more.
“To realise this potential, Queensland must implement world’s best practice regulations and community education in coming years.”
“Education is vital. You can have a fantastic system, but if the community isn’t adequately informed on how it works and how they can participate, you’re heading for failure.”
Earlier this year, Coles and Woolworths supermarkets promised to voluntarily impose a nationwide ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags, which are already outlawed in the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.