On 13 June 2021 the State Government announced Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics.
The Plan for Plastics was released in response to community feedback and provides a roadmap towards a more sustainable, plastic-free WA. The plan is consistent with the waste hierarchy by promoting actions that:
- prioritise avoiding single-use plastics
- replace single-use items with reusable alternatives wherever possible
- promote non-plastic single-use alternatives that can be recovered, recycled or composted, if it is not possible to use reusable items
- minimise litter or contamination of waste treatment facilities by not using single-use plastics
The plan includes introducing regulations to ban single-use plastic items in a two-stage approach. Stage 1 (short-term actions) regulations came into effect on 1 January 2022, with Stage 2 (medium-term actions) regulations coming into effect on 1 January 2023.
Stage 1 regulations to ban single-use or disposable plastic items started on 1 January 2022 and includes:
- drink stirrers
- drinking straws
- thick plastic bags
- expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food containers
- helium balloon releases.
Enforcement of Stage 1 regulations will start on 1 July 2022 for all items except for cups, which starts on 1 October 2022, to provide time for everyone to adapt.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will take an education-first approach as part of the introduction of these changes.
Exemptions from the bans will be able to be sought through an online process from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.
The supply of these materials to retailers is strictly prohibited in WA after 30 June 2022.
The Stage 1 single-use plastic ban refers to Australian Standard AS 4736-2006 Biodegradable plastics – Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment and AS 5810-2010 Biodegradable plastics – Biodegradable plastics suitable for home composting.
Copies of AS 4736-2006 and AS 5810-2010 are available for viewing free of charge at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Prime House, 8 Davidson Terrace, Joondalup WA 6027, between 8.30am – 5.00pm on weekdays.
Stage 1 is being supported through a Plastic Free Places program delivered by the Boomerang Alliance, and a comprehensive supplier and retailer education and engagement program (delivered by the National Retail Association), as well as community education programs.
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 to better understand these needs and to provide exemptions for ongoing access to required items for which there are no suitable alternatives.
A Plastic Straws Working Group was established in February 2021 to ensure any regulatory actions to ban plastic straws will not negatively impact people requiring straws to meet their life needs. Read more information on plastic straws. This group transitioned to a broader Single-Use Plastics Working Group to discuss actions for all of the Stage 1 and Stage 2 items with additional membership ensuring all key sectors are represented.
More information on Stage 1 is available below.
Information for shoppers
Information for retailers
Fact sheets/ FAQs
Plastic Free Places
Single-Use Plastic Working Group
Stage 2 single-use or disposable plastic items to be phased out from 1 January 2023 include:
- barrier/produce bags
- polystyrene packaging
- polystyrene cups
- coffee cups and lids
- cotton buds with plastic shafts
- lids for cups and bowls
- oxo-degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions).
The Plan for Plastics also includes actions to consider reducing plastic on prepacked fruit and vegetables, takeaway food and beverage containers and plastic packaging.
Feedback on the Let’s not draw the short straw – reduce single-use plastics issues paper indicated there is strong community support for action to reduce the impacts of single-use plastics.
We have engaged with government and key stakeholders in the lead up to the Stage 1 bans to ensure actions are well considered.
Opportunities to provide input and feedback on Stage 2 regulations will be provided in 2022.
For further information
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.