CANBERRA (Xinhua) – The state of South Australia (SA) has become Australia’s first state to ban single-use plastics.
The SA parliament on Wednesday passed legislation that will ban the sale, supply and distribution of plastic products including straws and cutlery.
The ban was slated to come into effect in the middle of 2020 but has been delayed until 2021 due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
David Speirs, SA’s environment minister, said that the ban would be introduced in stages.
“We want to deal with the low-hanging fruit in the first few months, that’s drink stirrers, cutlery, straws, then next year we’ll move onto takeaway containers,” he told reporters.
“Then we’ll be looking at coffee cups, fruit and vegetable carrier bags.”
“Over the next couple of years I think we’ll move quickly towards being single-use plastic-free, there’s a real hunger in the community.”
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) praised the landmark laws, saying they reaffirmed SA’s position as Australia’s leader in the fight against ocean pollution.
“SA has long been ahead of the curve on plastics,” Shane Cucow, the AMCS’s senior communications strategist, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“They were the first state or territory to introduce a container deposit scheme way back in 1977 and the first to ban plastic bags in 2009.”
Similar laws are being debated in Queensland, which is headed for a state election on Oct. 31.
“It could be just this week that we see another state ticked off the list,” Cucow said.
“It’s a really exciting time.”