5 single-use plastic items to be banned in NSW this year | City of Sydney

As of Wednesday, June 1, NSW government legislation will ban certain single-use plastic items. Businesses can no longer supply these items and customers can no longer receive them, even when purchasing takeout.

It’s all part of the NSW government’s plan to phase out single-use plastics and reduce the harmful impact these items have on our environment.

Instead of looking for single-use plastic alternatives like paper or bamboo, let’s say goodbye to single-use items altogether. Read on and use our Eliminate One-Time Use Toolkit for more ways to do this.

Lightweight plastic bags

A lightweight plastic bag is a full or partial plastic bag with handles and 35 microns thick or less on any part of the bag

Many of us are already in the habit of carrying a reusable bag, but as of Wednesday, June 1, lightweight plastic bags will be officially banned in the state.

Lightweight bags made from biodegradable plastic, compostable plastic or bioplastic are also banned, including those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.

The ban does not apply to barrier bags such as garbage bags, diaper bags or dog waste bags, product and deli bags, or bags used to store medical waste.

Use this one instead

  • Always take a reusable shopping bag with you when you go out. Make it a habit to always have one in your purse or pocket.
  • If you forget to bring your own bag and need a disposable alternative, ask for one made of paper. Or better yet, ask store associates if they have any leftover delivery box you can reuse.
  • Using paper bags instead of lightweight plastic bags is not a good option if the paper bags are only used once. Try to reuse paper bags over and over before putting them in the trash.

Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery

Plastic disposable cutlery and straws will be banned from November 1

From Tuesday, November 1, plastic straws, stirrers, stirrers, flatware, including forks, spoons, knives, spurs, splayds, chopsticks, and single-use food picks will be banned. This includes items made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics or bioplastics. Some exemptions apply.

Use this one instead

  • When buying takeaway, say no to disposable cutlery. Instead, carry reusable items in your purse or take food home or to the office to eat.
  • Try to avoid single-use items altogether, including paper straws. Go without a straw and ask for your drink without the straw.
  • If you have time, you can choose to dine in the shop, where you can be served with reusable cutlery.

Single-use plastic dishes and plates

Many businesses are happy for customers to bring their own reusable plates or containers for takeout food

From Tuesday 1 November, disposable dishes and plates will also be banned, including items made from biodegradable plastics, compostable plastics or bioplastics.

The ban does not apply to single-use plastic bowls designed with a spill-resistant lid, such as those used for takeaway soup. Read more about the exemption.

Use this one instead

  • Please bring your own clean plates, bowls or containers for takeaway. Many companies are happy to accept this.
  • If you have time, you can choose to dine in the shop, where you can be served with reusable bowls or plates.
  • If you are planning an event or party, consider reusable plates before purchasing disposable paper plates for guests. Paper plates are often too polluted to be recycled and require special composting. Bamboo plates can’t go in the trash either.

Expanded polystyrene foods

Polystyrene is an environmental nightmare. Lightweight and thin, it can easily blow away and fall apart

As of Tuesday, November 1, all expanded polystyrene food items will be banned in NSW, including clamshells, cups, plates and bowls.

Use this one instead

  • Again, reusable products are the best choice. Please bring your own clean plates, bowls or containers for takeaway.
  • Choose to dine in the shop where you will be served with the correct plates, bowls and cutlery.

Single-use plastic swabs and microbeads in certain personal care products

The packaging may have cotton swabs on it, but they often contain plastic too

From Tuesday, November 1, you will no longer be able to buy single-use plastic swabs and washable care products with plastic microbeads, such as facial and body cleansers, exfoliants and masks, shampoo, conditioner, hair dye and toothpaste.

Use this one instead

The market for reusable beauty products is growing. Look for reusable silicone earplugs that you can clean and reuse.

Why are compostable plastic alternatives banned?

Most items made from compostable plastic and bioplastic look just like regular plastic, but cannot be recycled in the same facilities. They do not biodegrade until they are treated in a commercial composting facility.

If compostable plastics or bioplastics end up in landfills or as litter in the environment, they do not break down and are just as big a problem as conventional plastic.

Supplying compostable plastic and bioplastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, bowls and plates is not allowed under the NSW ban, even if they are labeled plastic free.

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