Australia’s plastics scorecard: Queensland races ahead with today’s plastic bill

Queensland has raced into first place on WWF-Australia’s new single-use plastics scorecard with the introduction of their single-use plastic bill into parliament today, while Victoria, Tasmania and Northern Territory continue to lag behind in tackling plastic pollution.

The 2020 scorecard rates the performance of states and territories in addressing the most problematic single-use plastics.

Queensland was the biggest mover since last year’s scorecard, leapfrogging South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT to claim first place.

Queensland plans to ban plastic cutlery, straws and single-use plastic plates from sale from July next year and the state is also planning tougher controls on takeaway coffee cups and heavy-weight plastic shopping bags.

“It’s wonderful to see the Sunshine State leading the way to phase out some of the most littered plastics on our beautiful beaches. Plastic items like straws, plates and utensils are often discarded after a single-use, ending up in landfill or our oceans for hundreds of years,” Katinka Day, WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager, said.

The ACT and South Australia tied for second on the scorecard, with both governments introducing new single-use plastics legislation this year.

The nation’s capital will immediately ban plastic utensils, stirrers and expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers and will ban plastic produce bags, oxo-degradable plastics and straws in 12 months time.

South Australia is also pushing ahead with a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and utensils, with legislation going before the upper house imminently.

NSW climbed off the bottom of the scorecard into fifth place with its long overdue commitment to ban single-use plastic bags, which will prevent 16.8 million bags from being littered each year.

Victoria placed last on the scorecard for the second year in a row, sharing the dubious honour with Tasmania and the Northern Territory. While the Garden State made major progress on beverage litter with the announcement of its cash-for-cans and bottles scheme, progress on other single-use plastics has been minimal.

“We’re pleased to see Victoria joining the rest of Australia in tackling plastic beverage waste. Their container deposit scheme will prevent 80 million bottles from being littered each year, but the government needs to do much more to solve the state’s waste crisis,” Ms Day said.

“Victoria, Tassie and the Northern Territory must take action on some of the worst single-use plastic items, such as straws, utensils and plates. These items are already being addressed by other states and territories and it’s time for the stragglers to catch up.”

Ms Day said the plastics scorecard was designed to spark discussion and encourage government leadership to phase out single-use plastic items that are unnecessary and have viable alternatives.

“As we look at how we’re going to emerge from the COVID-19 health crisis, it’s really important we don’t forget about the huge impact plastic has on our environment,” she said.

“While some single-use plastic is necessary during a pandemic, it’s still possible to avoid unnecessary plastic in a safe way.

“A staggering 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans each year and plastic dumped in one region can travel and impact others. This is a global disaster that requires collective action, so we need to rebuild the momentum to make our oceans plastic-free and our marine wildlife safe.”

People can show their support for a ban on the 10 worst single-use plastics here: https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/plastics

Story Source: WWF Australia
Image: A face mask litters the ocean (Image Credit: Getty Images).

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.

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