South Australia to ban single-use plastics in 2021

Single-use plastics will be banned in South Australia, making it the first Australian state to introduce such a policy.

The new ban, which covers items such as plastic straws and cutlery designed to be used one time only and then discarded, will be implemented early next year, a deferral from the original target due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However the measures have now been passed in parliament.

A second ban – covering polystyrene cups, bowls and plates – will be enforced a year later.

“Our legislation at first bans single-use plastic items like straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers and outlines a framework for adding more items in the future,” said Environment Minister David Speirs. “However, with Covid-19 restrictions still impacting on society and in particular the hospitality industry, we will delay the commencement of the legislation.”

It is the second time that South Australia has led the cause against single-use plastics, since it prohibited their use in supermarkets in 2009.

The move comes as Pasadena and Frewville Foodlands become the first supermarkets within Australia to entirely abandon single-use plastic wrapping throughout their store network nationwide, opting instead for compostable bags made of corn starch.

Spero Chapley with a customer showing off the new non-plastic bags.

The initiative will prevent more than 3 million plastic bags going into landfill.

“We’re working with Kesab to better understand the issues with biodegradability of key products and what other alternatives are available and continue to conduct a department by department approach, said Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets director Spero Chaple.

“We’ve already reintroduced paper bags at the checkout and continue to work closely with our suppliers to reduce the amount of plastic used in product packaging, particular fresh fruit and vegetables.

“The outcomes achieved so far demonstrate improvement in community understanding of environmental sustainability issues, and this has led to behavioural change and increased participation in programs by our community.”