The end is near for single use plastics, including bags, straws, cotton buds, plates, bowls and cutlery, after the Plastics and Circular Economy Act 2021 passed in NSW Parliament this week.

Plastic packaging and single-use plastics make up 60 per cent of litter across the state.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that phasing out single-use plastics from June next year will result in less litter on our streets, parks and waterways.

“This plan helps reduce the harmful impact of these products on the environment while also encouraging the development of new and innovative products,” Ms Cooke said.

“This legislation is expected to stop 2.7 billion single-use items from ending up in our natural environment and waterways over the next 20 years, and is a game-changer in the fight against plastic waste across our state.”

Businesses will be supported to transition to alternative products before the phase outs come into effect. Exceptions will also apply for members of the community who rely on particular single-use plastics for disability or health needs.

“It is encouraging to see many businesses and households have already voluntarily taken action to reduce their single-use plastics, particularly those who take their own reusable bags to the shops,” Ms Cooke added.

The NSW Government has established a legislative framework to tackle harmful and problematic plastics though the setting of design standards.

The first design standard has been set for microbeads in cosmetic and personal care items, and will ensure microbeads are phased out from 1 November 2022.

The legislation will prohibit the supply of lightweight plastic bags from 1 June 2022. The supply of other items will be prohibited from 1 November 2022, including single-use plastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, cotton buds, plates and bowls, and expanded polystyrene foodservice items.

For more information on the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 visit http://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/plastics