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WA goes early on single-use plastic ban

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Single-use plastic will be banned in WA by the end of next year under a plan announced by the McGowan Government today.

It will be done in two phases, with items such as plastic plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers and helium balloon releases banned from December 31 this year.

Takeaway coffee cups, plastic produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads and oxo-degradable plastics banned from the end of next year.

The plan has been brought forward four years following ambitious environmental commitments announced by other States.

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Premier Mark McGowan said the public, in particularly young people, supported the move to use alternatives to plastics.

Mr McGowan said each Australian produced around 120kg of plastic each year.

“We need to reduce that, so much of it goes into the ocean and rivers and we need to get rid of it,” Mr McGowan.”

He said animals were choking and dying after swallowing plastic.

Environmental Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson encouraged people to use environmentally-friendly alternatives.

“This will significantly reduce plastic in landfill,” Ms Sanderson said.

“If it can’t be reused or recycled, it shouldn’t be made.”

Ms Sanderson said the State Government would be taking an educational approach with business owners for the first six months following each stage of the phase-out.

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Scarborough’s Livid Skate Cafe owner Oska Tallis said although there were extra costs associated with using alternatives, it was “ethically right” to transition away from plastics.

He said it was important for business owners to play their part.

WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature policy manager Kate Noble commended the State Government following the announcement.

“Plastic bags, plates and utensils are usually discarded after a single-use and cause huge damage when they leak into our oceans and environment … seabirds and turtles confuse plastic bags and balloons for food, a mistake that often proves fatal,” Ms Noble said.

“Taking these damaging items out of circulation this year will help to stem the tide of plastic at its source and save marine wildlife.”

It follows a ban on plastic bags from the McGowan Government in 2018 and the container deposit scheme in 2020.

Mr McGowan said those initiatives had saved millions, if not billions, of pieces of plastic.

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