Plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers will be the first to go under Queensland's proposed new law.
Plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers will be the first to go under Queensland’s proposed new law.

Legislation has been introduced into the Queensland Parliament to ban single-use plastic items including straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates, with hospitality businesses expected to be compliant by 01 July 2021.

The motion comes following a call for public submissions among Queensland residents earlier this year, with more than 20,000 responses received – 94% of which supported a state-wide ban in law. In addition, a 2019 research program by the University of Queensland studied the use and wastage of single-use plastic amenities, in collaboration with the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

Of the submissions received, 90% believed a 12-month was the right timeframe for the ban to take effect, giving food and beverage businesses a year to source new containers for their products.

The Bill will also put in place a timeline for single-use coffee cups, polystyrene cups, take-away food containers and heavy plastic bags to be banned in the future in line with public consultation.

Around 36% of Queensland’s litter comes from single-use plastics, according to Clean Up Australia.

According to Clean Up Australia, 36% of all litter in Queensland is made up of plastic packaging.

The only exception to the ban at this time will be single-use plastic straws which come attached to a juice box, with the Government to work with the packaging industry to develop sustainable options. Exemptions will also be afforded to people with disabilities who rely on single-use plastics in their daily lives.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch, said the bill was the next step in the state’s war on plastic waste and that the government was able to move on other matters as it has largely limited the spread of COVID-19 within its borders.

“Because we’ve had a strong health response, we’ve already started delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” the Minister said.

“A big part of that is supporting Queensland businesses because that means supporting Queensland jobs.”