Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics

Plastics have become part of our everyday life. They are inexpensive, convenient and used in many applications. However, the single-use nature of many of these plastics contributes to a linear, wasteful, take-make-dispose economy.

 

Western Australia's Plan for Plastics banner

 

Feedback on the Let’s not draw the short straw – reduce single-use plastics issues paper indicated there is strong community support (98 per cent) for the Government of Western Australia to take actions to reduce the impacts of single-use plastics.
 
In response to consultation feedback the State Government has released Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics. The plan’s approach encourages avoidance of single-use plastics as the preferred action to mitigate the known impacts of single-use plastics on the environment and waste streams.

The plan is consistent with the waste hierarchy by promoting actions that:

  • prioritise avoiding single-use plastics
  • substitute single-use items for reusable alternatives wherever possible
  • if it is not possible to use reusable items, choose non-plastic single-use alternatives that can be recovered, recycled or composted
  • minimise litter or contamination of waste treatment facilities by not using single-use plastics

The Plan for Plastics will be delivered over the short (2020 to 2023) and medium-term (2024 to 2026) and will be complemented by voluntary approaches.

Short-term actions to be implemented from 2020 to 2023 include the phasing-out of plastic:  

  • plates
  • cutlery
  • stirrers
  • straws
  • thick plastic bags
  • polystyrene food containers
  • helium balloon releases

The State Government will also engage with community and key stakeholders to ensure actions are well considered, and establish a plastic straws working group. Short-term actions also include introduction of Plastic Free Places trials with community partners; and the development of targeted community education programs to support implementation.

Medium-term actions to be introduced from 2024 to 2026 include the phasing-out of plastic:

  • barrier/produce bags
  • microbeads
  • polystyrene packaging
  • cotton buds with plastic shafts; and
  • oxo-degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions)

The plan also includes actions on prepacked fruit and vegetables, takeaway food and beverage containers and plastic packaging. 

Consultation

Ongoing consultation with the community, key stakeholders and all relevant government agencies will be undertaken in a staged approach as each of the actions is implemented.

The government recognises that some people in the community require certain single-use plastics items to meet their life needs.  We will consult with the disability, health and aged-care sectors to better understand these needs and to provide exemptions for ongoing access to required items for which there are no alternatives. 

An important part of stage one is the establishment of a plastic straws working group to ensure any regulatory actions to phase-out plastic straws will not negatively impact people requiring straws to meet their life needs.

More information regarding each of these actions and opportunities will be provided soon. 

For further information

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Phone: 08 6364 7000
Email: plastic-action@dwer.wa.gov.au
Postal address: Reducing single-use plastics, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Locked Bag 10, Joondalup DC, WA, 6919

Please complete the form below to register your interest for future single-use plastic information.


For further information on reducing waste visit wastesorted.wa.gov.au.

Page reviewed 12 November 2020