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Australian Capital Territory Legislation Explained

Similarly to SA, the ACT were one of the first states to enforce a ban on single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags in 2011.

The ACT government consulted the public on the issue of single-use plastics and results from the phasing out single-use plastics engagement report indicated that over 90% of the community submission support action on single-use plastics[1].

Driven by public consultation, the ACT government introduced the Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 which proposes progressively phasing out sale and distribution of particular single-use plastic items. The bill also considers that public events will be declared as single-use plastic free and therefore, other single-use plastic items could be banned at public events beyond the items listed in the act.

On 30 March 2021, the Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 passed the ACT legislative assembly. Thus, legislation will be effective from 1 July 2021 and immediate product phase outs make it beneficial for businesses to begin switching to legislative compliant packaging alternatives.

Key dates

1 July 2021

Legislation prohibits the sale, supply or distribution of the following single-use plastics which will be phased out immediately:  

  • Single-use plastic stirrers and cutlery (including bioplastics made from plant or other biological material instead of petroleum- such as PLA or CPLA)
  • Single-use EPS food and beverage service containers (cups, bowls and clamshells)

1 July 2022

Legislation prohibits the sale, supply and distribution of the following single-use plastic products:

  • Single-use plastic straws
  • Cotton buds with plastic sticks
  • All oxo-degradable plastics

1 July 2023 (indicative)

Single-use plastic items under consideration for phase out in the longer term include:

  • Plastic-lined coffee cups and lids
  • Single-use plastic dinnerware
  • Single-use heavyweight plastic bags (>35 micron)
  • Cotton ear buds (with plastic sticks)
RecycleMe cold cup filled with soda and pictured with an endura paper straw.
Endura tray filled with fruit salad and pictured with a wooden fork by the beach.


The following exemptions apply in the ACT, however, do not apply in all states and territories.

  • An exemption applies to single-use plastic items that are an integral part of the packaging in which food and beverages are sealed before retail supply. This means that a plate in a pre-packaged frozen meal is exempt, for example.
  • An exemption applies to individuals with a disability or medical need to use a straw, when single-use plastic straws are included in the legislation in 2022.
  • The ban does not include using a prohibited plastic product in a domestic setting. Therefore, individuals will still be able to use prohibited plastic items at a family picnic or place a plastic fork in a child’s lunchbox. However, from 1 July 2021 these items will not be available for sale.

Enforcement & Penalties

Compliance and enforcement of the legislation will be undertaken by Access Canberra.

To find out what penalties apply in the ACT, the full Bill is available here.


Head back to the Single-use Problematic Plastics in Australia home page, here.

Contact us about moving to Towards 2025 compliant packaging, here.

Browse our range of legislative compliant packaging, here.




Image of cup and cutlery sitting on grass

Your Compliant Options


Item: Y448S0001

AUD 336.12* / Carton (6,000) | AUD 0.06 EA


Item: Y707S0350

AUD 120.38* / Carton (400) | AUD 0.30 EA


Item: P616S0010

AUD 86.62* / Carton (500) | AUD 0.17 EA


Item: M429S0010

AUD 90.26* / Carton (500) | AUD 0.18 EA