Second state/territory considers coffee cup ban

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is considering a ban on single-use plastics, including plastic-lined coffee cups.

City Services Minister Chris Steel proposed a single-use plastic ban on 19 February, while addressing a review of the government’s plastic shopping bag ban.

The ACT Government banned non-recyclable plastic bags less than 35 microns thick in 2010, and the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s reviewed its efficacy in 2018.

“Plastic bags are only one part of a much larger plastics problem. In fact, one expert in the report estimated plastic bags represent one per cent of the waste going into the landfill in the ACT,” Chris tells the Legislative Assembly.

“Many single-use plastic items like plastic cutlery, straws, coffee stirrers, and plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups are used for a matter of moments before being discarded, potentially releasing toxins and damaging the environment as they decay.

“We need to consider greater regulation in tackling other types of plastics… More can be done to stem the flow of single-use plastics into landfill in the ACT, onto our landscape into our waterways.”

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A similar proposal was put forward in South Australian following the release of a new discussion paperin January.

The Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Products discussion paper seeks feedback on whether the government should introduce measures to tackle a range of single-use items, including coffee cups. The paper asks whether government intervention is required for these items and in what form it could take.

“We commend the consultative stance South Australia is taking,” Chris says.

“The ACT is not alone in grappling with these issues… All governments also need to be taking the lead in addressing single-use plastics.”

Rather than consulting on the ACT’s existing plastic bag ban as a standalone measure, Chris instead wants the ACT community, businesses and industry to tell the government how it should address single-use plastics.

“Why is it that single-use items such as cutlery, straws or plastic-lined takeaway cups are still being used, especially when there are clear alternatives?” Chris asks.

“We will consult with the community on banning these products or taking alternative regulatory and other measures.

“The ACT has the opportunity to take progressive action on problematic plastics.”

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