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 wasteful, take-make-dispose economy.

 

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.
 
In response to consultation feedback the State Government has released Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics. The plan’s preferred approach is avoidance of single-use plastics 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
  • replace single-use items with 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 (end of  2021) and medium-term (by the end of 2022) and will be complemented by voluntary approaches.

Single-use plastic or disposable items to be banned by the end of 2021 include the following items:  

  • plates
  • bowls
  • cutlery
  • stirrers
  • straws
  • cups
  • thick plastic bags
  • polystyrene takeaway food containers; and
  • helium balloon releases
     

Short-term actions also include the introduction of Plastic Free Places trials with community partners, and the development of targeted community education programs to support implementation.

Medium-term bans to be introduced by the end of 2022 include the following plastic items:

  • barrier/produce bags
  • microbeads
  • polystyrene packaging
  • polystyrene cups
  • coffee cups and lids
  • cotton buds with plastic shafts 
  • 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

We will be engaging with government and key stakeholders in the lead up to the ban implementation dates to ensure actions are well considered.

Some people in the community require certain single-use plastic items to meet their life needs.  The department is consulting 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.

For further information

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

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


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

Page reviewed 13 June 2021