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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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ACT phase-out of single-use plastics to begin July 2021

The implementation of the ACT Government’s staged single-use plastics ban, originally slated to commence ‘mid-to-late 2020’, will instead begin on 1 July 2021.

The exposure draft of the Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday, 13 August, as the ACT Government formally begins implementing the phase-out of certain single-use plastics.

In July, ACT Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction, Chris Steel, told Canberra Weekly all Australian jurisdictions have put any implementation on hold until July 2021 “due to the pandemic”.

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“This legislation could impose additional regulation on the hospitality industry and events industries when they are not operating or just trying to survive during the pandemic, which is why the legislation will still be introduced this year but implemented from 2021,” Mr Steel said.

The phase out of single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers and polystyrene containers will commence on 1 July 2021, along with supplementary measure to help businesses and consumers to ‘ditch the disposable’.

Government and non-government events will become single-use plastic-free at that point, too.

Plastic-free events could include Floriade and the National Multicultural Festival, as well as privately run major sporting matches and festivals.

“This Bill will see ‘plastic-free’ events become the norm in the Territory rather than a one off ‘nice to do’,” Mr Steel said.

Then come 1 July 2022, the legislative phase out of single-use plastic straws (except for those who need them), fruit and veg ‘barrier bags’ and oxo-degradable plastic products will take effect.

The original plan was to immediately phase out all single-use plastic cutlery and stirrers, and single-use expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers “mid-to-late 2020”, before phasing out other single-use plastic items, like produce bags, in 2021.

Mr Steel said the ACT Government would continue to work with stakeholders on the ACT Plastic Reduction Taskforce as they implement the phase out, with the final Bill introduced before the end of the year.

“This is just the start. Producers and suppliers of single-use plastic products that are not designed to be economically recycled here in the ACT are on notice. This Bill sets out a framework to phase out other problematic and unnecessary plastic products in the future with appropriate consultation.”

To view and comment on the exposure draft of the Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 and/or the Phasing out single-use plastics Updated Next Steps Policy, visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au

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