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.
On 13 June 2021, the State Government announced Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics. This follows previous action on plastic, including the introduction of a lightweight plastic bag ban in 2018 and a container deposit scheme in 2020.
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 plastic.
The plan includes regulations to ban single-use plastic items in a two-stage approach. Stage 1 regulations are complete. Regulations for Stage 2 items took effect on 27 February 2023. Stage 2 items are in the process of being phased out, with different transition periods for compliance and enforcement, depending on the item.
Stage 1 itemsShow more
Items banned in Stage 1 include:
- unlidded bowls
- drink stirrers
- drinking straws
- unlidded cups for cold beverages
- thick plastic shopping bags
- expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food containers
- helium balloon releases
- unlidded takeaway food containers.
Visit our webpage for Stage 1, which provides information to support the transition away from plastic.
Stage 2 itemsShow more
Items banned in Stage 2 include:
- loose and moulded expanded polystyrene packaging
- degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions)
- produce bags
- expanded polystyrene cups and food trays for raw meat and seafood
- coffee cups and lids
- lids for cups, trays, bowls, plates and takeaway food containers
- trays for takeaway food not covered in the Stage 1 ban
- cotton buds with plastic stems
We will take an education-first approach for local retailers as part of the introduction of these changes.
Visit our webpage for Stage 2, which provides information to support the transition away from plastic.
Single-use plastic promotional filmShow more
On 30 August 2023, an additional item was announced to be added to Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics regulations: single-use plastic promotional film.
This type of plastic material is commonly used in retail and election advertising signage. Most of this plastic is typically used for very short periods and usually ends up in landfill.
Targeted consultation with relevant stakeholders will be conducted in the latter part of 2023.
Single-Use Plastic Working GroupShow more
Previous consultationsShow more
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 engaged with government and key stakeholders in the lead up to the Stage 1 bans to ensure the actions were well considered.
A consultation period to provide input and feedback on Stage 2 regulations was completed in November 2022.