Canberra calls for ban on single-use plastics

Released 19/10/2019

The Canberra community has shown strong support for phasing out certain unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics during consultation earlier this year.

Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel today released the consultation summary from the ACT Government discussion paper Phasing out single-use plastics.

During the consultation there were 3300 interactions, including survey responses, submissions, YourSay comments, and attendance at several community and business information sessions. This includes more than 2770 completed community survey responses. Separately a Government survey of the general community was undertaken.

Minister Steel said the consultation period saw high levels of engagement across the ACT community and strong support for Government intervention to responsibly manage the environment.

“Canberrans strongly held the view that action needs to be taken to phase-out single-use plastics with a transition to readily available alternatives, Minister Steel said.

“We benchmarked the results of the consultation, and were high levels of support for action across both the general community and those who responded to directly to the consultation.

“Importantly the huge majority of the community supports strong government regulatory action to ban problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics, rather than just non-regulatory responses.

“Canberrans also understand that a pragmatic approach may need to be taken to plastic products where there are not well-developed alternatives.”

The Government is already working on the next steps in developing our policy response to phasing out single-use plastics in the ACT. This requires careful consideration of the impact phasing out certain products could have e.g. plastic straws are needed by some people with a disability.

During the consultation we heard from people with a disability and their advocates about the need to ensure that plastic straws remain available, and we will consider this in developing our policy.

Further consideration is also being given to some products where there are not yet clear alternatives that are better than plastic for the environment.

“The consultation has given us useful guidance about the next steps for Government in developing our policy on phasing out single-use plastics,” Minister Steel said.

“We have also seen the next steps taken in South Australia, and where possible we will aim to take a coordinated policy approach with other jurisdictions that are phasing out single-use plastics.”

Of those that responded to the consultation community survey (definite or probable support):

  • 94% support a phase out of polystyrene
  • 93% support a phase out of plastic stirrers and straws
  • 92% support a phase out of plastic lined coffee cups or lids
  • 91% support a phase out of plastic cutlery
  • 91% support a phase out of plastic plates and cups
  • 85% support a phase out of lightweight fruit and barrier bags
  • 87% support a phase out of takeaway food containers.

Of those ACT residents from the general community surveyed (definite support or probable support):

  • 77% of Canberrans supported banning single-use plastic straws
  • 71% supported banning plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups
  • 68% supported banning single-use plastic takeaway containers
  • 58% supported banning thicker plastic bags.

To view the engagement report and submissions visit YourSay website.

- Statement ends -

Section: Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases

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