What is being banned and when?

Each Government agency, whether Federal, State or Territory is bringing in bans at different times, and they are each choosing to prioritise different products or packaging types. We have summarised the details in the table below, however there are some themes.

Plastic items to be phased out are generally those that are used only once, are not recyclable and there is a more sustainable alternative readily available.

The most commonly banned items include single use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers as well as foam food containers like drinking cups and clamshells.

Will there be exemptions?

Any ban introduced likely contains exemptions that allow for the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic straws, or other necessary items to those in the community who rely on them due to disability, medical or other need.

Why are some plastics being banned?

Plastics are a part of our everyday life; they are convenient and used in many applications. There is however, growing consumer awareness of the issues posed by some plastic and packaging waste. Many single-use plastics aren’t recyclable so end up in landfill and if used outside of the home can sometimes become litter.

To address the issues associated with some single-use plastics, Australian governments are implementing a series of actions to address the plastics problem.

Individual Australian States and Territories are introducing legislation that prohibits the sale, supply and distribution of certain single-use plastic products and establishes a framework for adding other products in the future.

The Federal Government has also stepped in with a National Plastics Plan that includes among other actions the phasing out of some EPS foam products.

What is being banned where?

The table below shows the bans in each State and Territory as well as products or packaging listed in the National Plastics Plan. 


Single-use Plastic Legislation

Legend Policy Certainty Still being determined Enacted National Plastics Plan Voluntary

Category Range NSW VIC QLD WA SA ACT TAS NT NZ
Legislation being drafted Plastics plan released Legislation enacted Legislation being drafted Legislation enacted Legislation enacted City of Hobart by-law City of Darwin only Plan released
Bags Light weight plastic bags June 2022 Already banned Already banned Already banned Already banned Already banned Already banned Already banned Already banned
Heavy weight plastic bags 2024     Jun 2022          
Plastic produce bags       Dec 2022   July 2022     Mid 2023 
Foam Consumer Packaging Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022  
Cups Dec 2022 Feb 2023 Sep 2021 Dec 2022 Mar 2022 July 2021 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Late 2022
Bowls Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Sep 2021 Dec 2022 Mar 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022  Late 2022 
Plates Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022 Dec 2022  Late 2022 
Food Containers Dec 2022  Dec 2022 Sep 2021 Jun 2022 Mar 2022 July 2021 July 2021 Dec 2022  Late 2022 
Oxos Fragmented plastics July 2022 July 2022 July 2022 July 2022 Mar 2022 July 2022 July 2022 July 2022  Late 2022 
Other Product labels 2024               Mid 2023 
PVC Meat trays                 Late 2022
PVC food and beverage packaging                 Mid 2025
Microbeads Dec 2022     Dec 2022          
Plastic Cutlery Dec 2022 Feb 2023 Sep 2021 Jun 2022 Mar 2021 July 2021 July 2021 2019 Mid 2023
Stirrers Dec 2022 Feb 2023 Sep 2021 Jun 2022 Mar 2021 July 2021 July 2021 2019 Late 2022 
Straws Dec 2022  Feb 2023  Sep 2021 Jun 2022 Mar 2021 July 2022  July 2021    
Bowls 2024    Sep 2021  Jun 2022        2019 Mid 2023
Plates 2024  Feb 2023 Sep 2021  Jun 2022        2019  Mid 2023 
Cups 2024       Jun 2022           
Plastic stemmed cotton buds Dec 2022 Feb 2023   Dec 2022         Late 2022
Sauce sachets             July 2021     
Sandwich wedges             July 2021    
Containers and lids             July 2021    
Lined coffee cups       Dec 2022     July 2021    
Coffee cup lids       Dec 2022     July 2021     
Lined noodle boxes             July 2021     

Exemptions

Queensland
  • Prescribed organisations exempt from the entire ban (medical facilities, aged care etc.)
  • PLA permitted only if ABA certified
  • Bowls with lids considered containers
South Australia
  • SUP spoons used for clinical purposes
  • SUP straws for people with a disability or medical need
Australian Capital Territory
  • SUP Laksa spoons
  • All mental health patient facing-settings until July 2022
Western Australia
  • All SUP items for a life-need (due to a disability, medical or other reason)
  • Paperboard cups lined with PLA, certified to AS 4736:2006
  • Plastic cup lids made from PLA, certified to AS 4736:2006
  • Paperboard bowls lined with PLA
  • Plastic bowl lids made from PLA-lined paperboard
  • Insulated plastic bags made to keep food purchases cold (cooler bags)
  • Plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging in which goods are sealed for sale
  • Plastic bags provided by a medical provider to a person receiving medical care

How Bunzl is helping our customers

Bunzl is taking a proactive approach to the banning of some single-use plastics. As a global business, we have experienced single-use plastic bans in other markets that we operate in, such as the UK and Europe. In Australia, we are now drawing upon that experience to work with our customers and suppliers towards a more sustainable approach.

Our sourcing team are working with our suppliers to ensure our range meets any of the requirements. First and foremost, to transition from problematic single-use plastics but also to offer products that support a circular economy. These include products that contain recycled content, are made from renewable materials, are recyclable or compostable. Where no suitable product exists, we search for a more sustainable solution.

Our sustainability experts are following the progress being made to ensure we have a strong understanding of which products will be phased out in each jurisdiction.

We understand that progress takes time. We are here to support you in every step of your sustainability journey and will work together to ensure your product range meets your sustainability objectives. Contact one of our sustainability experts today: sustainability@bunzl.com.au

How Bunzl is helping our customers