Queensland considers hard line against plastics

State proposes new measures to protect environment.

The Queensland Government has opened consultation to determine if a state-wide ban on removing single-use plastics should be enforced.

The ban, which would remove single-use plastics from the environment, would initially focus on straws, drink stirrers, cutlery and plates.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said single-use plastics were an increasing problem with damaging impacts on Queensland’s environment and marine life.

“It’s time to decide the future of single-use plastics in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.

“Plastic pollution in our environment affects every aspect of our lives – from the water we drink and the food we consume to the plants, animals and outdoor places we all love and enjoy.

“We are looking to limit and, where necessary, ban the supply of most single-use plastic products starting with straws, stirrers, plates, cutlery and cups.”

Ms Enoch said steps had already been introduced to limit the supply of specific plastic products.

“The Queensland Government has already taken steps to reduce plastic with the ban on single-use plastic bags and the introduction of Containers for Change,” she said.

“Those initiatives have seen hundreds of millions of individual plastic products kept from entering the environment and now we’re looking ahead.

“In the future, we’ll also consider other forms of single-use items such as coffee cups, heavyweight plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers, but right now we’re focused on straws, stirrers, plates and cutlery.”

Ms Enoch said Queenslanders were encouraged to provide their feedback on single-use plastics by visiting www.qld.gov.au/reducingplastic. 

“We want to hear from Queenslanders as we take this next step,” Ms Enoch said.

“The consultation is very important because we want to make sure we hear everyone’s perspectives on single-use plastics.

“Importantly, we are committed to ensuring the needs of people with a disability and the aged-care sector are taken into account.”

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Queensland Disability Advisory Council chair Sharon Boyce said many within the disabled community relied heavily on straws.

“This is a conversation our community welcomes – how those of us with high needs can find a practical solution to plastic straws,” Ms Boyce said.

“We are also concerned about the environmental impact of single-use plastics and we support measures that will reduce environmental destruction.”

Submissions are open from 13 March to 15 April 2020 and will help shape legislation that moves Queensland towards a zero-waste economy by 2050. For more information, visit www.qld.gov.au/reducingplastic.