Onkaparinga business owners and residents are adopting alternatives to single-use plastic straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers since a ban on the sale, supply and distribution of the items came into effect on 1 March this year.
Landmark legislation stopping the sale of single-use plastic products was passed by South Australian Parliament in September 2020. More plastic products will be added to the prohibited list from March 2022 including polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers. However, an exemption applies for the supply of plastic straws to people with a disability or medical need. Plastic straws attached to products such as juice or milk boxes are also allowed.
Council’s Waste and Recycling Education Officer Lynda Wedding says any measure that reduces litter in the community is a good thing.
“Prevention is better than cure—we need to stop producing litter in the first place. As a population, we’ve become too reliant on the cheap convenience of single-use plastics to change habits for ourselves, which is why bans like this become essential,” Lynda says.
Lynda goes on to explain that every piece of plastic ever made still exists today in some form.
“Plastic breaks up—not down—into multitudes of smaller or tiny pieces. It doesn’t disappear, it just becomes harder to spot and pick up,” she says.
Prior to the announcement of the ban last year, some local businesses had already started to reduce, remove and offer alternatives to some single-use plastics such as straws.
“The Onkaparinga community views actions on waste reduction in a positive way and we hope all businesses see this ban as an opportunity to become more sustainable,” Lynda says.
Compostable plastic (bioplastic) products including those made from or lined with polylactic acid (PLA) are also prohibited under the legislation.
“Items made from these materials potentially have the same negative impact by being littered. Businesses should check their stocks as they may have previously purchased these plastics as a more environmentally-friendly alternative,” Lynda explains.
All local business owners are encouraged to visit the state government’s Replace the Waste website and consider changes they need to make as significant penalties apply for non-compliance.
Council offers a variety of community workshops and school education sessions focussed on reusable packaging to help residents adopt more sustainable behaviours.
To find out more about waste and recycling events and initiatives visit onkaparingacity.com/Services-and-projects/Waste-and-recycling
Visit replacethewaste.sa.gov.au or call 1800 844 946 for advice.