The McGowan Labor Government has fast-tracked its Plan for Plastics by four years with single-use plastic bowls, cups, plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, expanded polystyrene food containers, thick plastic bags and helium balloon releases to be phased out by the end of the year.
The new timeframe will see Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics fully implemented by the end of 2022, four years earlier than originally planned.
Stage One bans will be enforceable by 1 July 2022 and Stage Two is expected to be enforceable by end 2022.
On 16 July DWER sent out a Stakeholder Information Paper to select contacts. This document is the first opportunity for stakeholders to see items defined as in scope by DWER. Unfortunately the Paper is not available on the DWER website, but the NRA has uploaded it here.
We note that “single-use” is still not defined in the Paper, and though this sounds simple, the definition has varied per jurisdiction. Eg. SA “designed or intended to be used once or a limited number of times” and has yet to clearly define a specific number of times to which businesses could design truly reusable items.
Stage one includes:
- single-use plastic straws – bioplastics not exempt. Expect exemption for those with a disability or medical need.
- single-use plastic cutlery – bioplastics not exempt.
- single-use plastic stirrers – bioplastics not exempt.
- expanded polystyrene “takeaway food containers including trays, bowls and clamshell containers”. Bioplastics not mentioned as exempt.
- “disposable plastic plates, bowls and bowl lids made out of plastic designed for consuming food”.
- Plates: Includes ban on PLA or PLA-lined paperboard plates (therefore printed or coloured paper plates not possible as thin layer of cello needed for food safety).
- Bowls: Includes ban on plastic and PLA bowl lids. Only AU certified PLA-lined paperboard bowls and lids, and CPLA bowl lids exempt. Note bowls with lids defined as containers in QLD.
- “disposable plastic cups and lids for cold drinks”
- Includes all forms of cold cups including flutes, goblets, beer cups, etc. Note images at end of Info Paper.
- Allows only AU certified PLA-lined paperboard cups and PLA lids (therefore no transparent cups will be possible).
- All unsealed plastic shopping bags with handles, regardless of thickness.
- Includes all reusable plastic bags previously deemed compliant in 2019 ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags.
- Includes plastic-laminated paper/cardboard bags.
- Also sets min 100gsm for polypropylene ‘green’ bags.
Stage two includes:
- coffee cups & lids
- polystyrene cups (we assume this is EPS)
- barrier/produce bags
- expanded polystyrene packaging
- cotton buds with plastic shafts
- oxo-degradable plastics.
These items have not yet been defined and consultation is not open until 2022.
- DWER website >
- DWER Plan for Plastics (updated June 2021) >
- Stakeholder Info Paper >
- NRA’s comparison table of plastic bans across Australia and NZ >
- Formal consultation was conducted in 2019. See the NRA’s submission >
- A limited series on online sessions are currently underway. Register here >
- The NRA is an active member of the WA Single-Use Plastic Working Group (recently renamed from the WA Plastic Straws Working Group). Contact David Stout at email@example.com for more information.