Together for a Sustainable Future

Australia's Progress on Single-Use Plastic Bans in the Second Half of 2024, Involving Four States

by Sadie Shen May 31, 2024
This article examines the developments in plastic bans that will occur in the second half of 2024 in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA), and Western Australia (WA).

Australia's 2025 National Packaging Targets create a new sustainable pathway for Australia's management of packaging. One of the targets is to phase out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025. The states and territories of Australia have crafted their own paths on banning different types of single-use plastics, but the pace varies. This article examines the developments on plastic ban in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC), South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA) that will happen in H2, 2024.

New South Wales (NSW)

From November 1, 2024, plastic-lined paper plates and bowls will be banned in NSW under the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021. This Act had already seen the prohibition of several single-use plastic items, including lightweight plastic bags, single-use plastic plates and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items among others. The upcoming ban addresses plates and bowls composed of paper or cardboard featuring a plastic lining or coating, marking the end of a two-year exemption period since October 31, 2024.

Victoria (VIC)

From November 1, 2024, paper and cardboard plates lined with plastic will be banned in VIC. This action followed the state's earlier prohibition of multiple single-use plastics since February 1, 2023, ranging from plates to EPS food service items. The upcoming prohibition will take place after the conclusion of a granted exemption valid until October 31, 2024.

Western Australia (WA)

The Western Australia's Plan for Plastics includes a two-stage approach to banning single-use plastic items. The implementation of Stage 1 regulations has been completed, during which a foundational framework was set. Now, the focus has shifted to items covered in Stage 2, with phase-out processes beginning on 2023.

From September 1, 2024, produce bags for fruit and vegetables will be banned in WA. Notably, this ban does not extend to produce bags that are certified as compostable according to the Australian standards (AS4736:2006 or AS5810:2010) after the enforcement date.

From September 1, 2024, lids for bowls, trays, plates and takeaway food containers will be banned. The ban does not apply to lids or lidded foodware made primarily from paper or fibre with a plastic or bioplastic coating where the whole item is certified to the Australian Standard for industrial (AS 4736:2006) or home (AS 5810:2010) composting.

South Australia (SA)

SA has been consistently progressing towards the objectives outlined in the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020. Simultaneously, bans on specific plastic items are being rolled out annually through 2021-2025. From September 1, 2024, the following plastic items will be banned:

  • Thick supermarket or boutique-style plastic bags, and plastic barrier bags used to contain and protect unpackaged produce, nuts and confectionery. However, this ban does not apply to compostable bags certified by Australian Standards (AS 4736:2006 or AS 5810:2010).

  • EPS consumer food and beverage containers, including gelato containers, cake boxes and cake boxes.

  • Plastic food bag tags, plastic confetti and plastic balloon sticks or ties.

  • Single-use plastic beverage containers and their attachments, such as single-use plastic lids and beverage plugs. However, this ban does not apply to Australian Standard certified compostable hot and cold beverage cups and their lids.

  • Single-use plastic food containers, including bowls, cups, containers and trays with lids when used for takeaway food prepared for sale and consumption on the same day. However, this ban does not apply to Australian Standard certified compostable food containers.

Sadie Shen
ChemLinked Regulatory Analyst
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