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New South Wales is taking action against single-use problematic plastics.
Selected items have already been banned state wide, and additional items remain under consideration for phase out in the future.
We are here to help you understand the legislation, what items are banned, and what your sustainable alternatives are.
Your Compliant Options
New South Wales Legislation Explained
In 2021, the New South Wales Government announced their commitment to address single-use plastics. Bans against specific items form part of the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and the NSW Plastics Action Plan 2021.
In-line with the state's action plan, on 16 November 2021, the NSW Government passed the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Bill 2021, resulting in enforcement of bans against selected single-use plastics.
Items already banned
From 1 June 2022:
- Lightweight plastic bags
- Under legislation, a lightweight plastic bag is one with handles that is 35 microns or less in thickness at any part of the bag.
The ban includes lightweight plastic bags made from biodegradable, compostable or bioplastics, including those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.
The ban does not include:
- Barrier bags such as bin liners, human or animal waste bags
- Produce and deli bags
- Bags used to contain medical items (excluding those provided by a retailer to a customer to transport medical items from the store).
From 1 November 2022:
- Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery including those made from biodegradable, compostable or bio-plastics. This includes items made from Australian certified compostable plastic
- Single-use plastic bowls and plates including those made from biodegradable, compostable or bio-plastics. This includes items made from Australian certified compostable plastic
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food service items including clamshells, cups, plates and bowls
- Single-use plastic cotton buds and rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads
Exemptions will apply to ensure continued access to single-use plastics straws for people with a disability or medical need.
Additonally, the ban does not apply to:
- Serving utensils
- Items forming an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or drinks, or are included within or attached to that packaging, through an automated process
- Single-use plastic bowls designed or intended to have a spill-proof lid
- EPS meat or produce trays
- EPS packaging, including consumer and business-to-business packaging and transport containers
- EPS food service items forming an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or drinks, or are included within or attached to that packaging, through an automated process.
Enforcement & Penalties
The primary environmental regulator for NSW is the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
For more information the full Plastics Action Plan 2021 is available, here.
The full NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 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 sustainable legislative compliant packaging, here.