Politics

New South Wales Becomes The Last State In Australia To Officially Ban Plastic Bags

"This is about changing how our economy uses, reuses and disposes of plastic."

plastic bags

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The New South Wales government have finally announced they’ll ban plastic bags, becoming the last state in Australia to do so.

While retailers like Coles, Woolworths and Harris Farm have already gotten rid of single-use plastic bags in their stores, NSW is the only state in Australia that hasn’t officially banned them.

Yesterday the NSW government released a discussion paper on ways to reduce plastic, increase recycling and limit pollution.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said they want to draft legislation by the end of the year based off feedback on that paper. Plastic bags will then be phased out within six months.

“We know other states have already done this but the difference with our paper is that it’s whole-of-government, whole-of-plastics,” she said.

The environmental minister Matt Kean said it set the stage for them to totally phase out single use plastic, triple the amount of plastic recycled by 2030, and reduce plastic litter by a quarter.

“Plastic has also become synonymous with the global consumer economy and underpins our use and dispose mentality—so much so that plastic is piling up in our natural environment and posing a risk to human health,” he wrote in the discussion paper.

“This is not just about banning one product; this is about changing how our economy uses, reuses and disposes of plastic.”

It comes months after the government rejected a bill from the Opposition which sought to ban single-use plastic bags in October, in favour of this discussion paper.

Ms Berejiklian said it was important  that businesses had enough time to adjust and source sustainable alternatives.

In 2017-18 New South Wales consumed 1.1 million tonnes of plastic.

The following year, that plastic made up 60% of all litter.