In 2019 community feedback it was clear, over 98 per cent of the community are concerned about the environmental issues associated with plastic waste (i.e. the impacts on oceans, litter, wildlife, recycling and landfill) and supported action to reduce these items.
Stage 1 of the Plan for Plastics has started. From 1 January 2022 regulations to ban the sale, supply and distribution of specific single-use plastics in Western Australia come into effect. Enforcement of the Stage 1 regulations starts on 1 July 2022 for all items except cups which is delayed until 1 October 2022, to provide time for stakeholders to adapt.
Penalties will apply to any person who supplies or manufactures and knowingly provides false or misleading information about single-use items that are banned under the regulations.
The Stage 1 bans apply to plates, bowls, cutlery, drink stirrers, drinking straws (with exceptions), cups, thick plastic bags and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food containers. The regulations also ban the release of balloons inflated with a gas that causes it to rise in the air.
Some exemptions apply to the single-use plastic bans, such as for plastic straws. Information material is provided below with more detail on the ban for each item.
It is important to acknowledge that some people in the community require certain single-use plastic items to meet their life needs. The department has consulted with the disability, health and aged-care sectors through a Single-Use Plastic Working Group to better understand these needs and to provide exemptions for plastic drinking straws to reduce supply and maintain suitable ongoing access. See more information on these exemptions.
Consumers are encouraged to avoid single-use plastics by opting for a plastic free alternative, choosing food without plastic packaging, taking a reusable bag when shopping and using a reusable cup instead of a plastic one. Instead of balloons, opt for cost-effective and reusable party and event decorations.
Information relating to Stage 2 regulations will be provided in 2022.