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SA bans single-use plastics in Australian first but new rules delayed due to coronavirus pandemic

South Australia has become the first state to ban single-use plastics in Australia, but the new rules will not come into effect until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key points:

  • SA has passed laws to ban single-use plastic products — the first state in Australia to do so

  • The State Government says the new rules will be enforced in 2021 due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • It says the ban on straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers could be extended to include other products

Legislation banning the sale, supply and distribution of plastic products like straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers passed the State Parliament today.

The Government had flagged its intention to ban the products by the middle of this year but that was delayed due to the pandemic.

It now says the ongoing impacts of coronavirus on businesses will see the rules come into force in 2021.

More bans likely

State Environment Minister David Speirs said plastic items would be banned in a staged approach, with the aim of removing them altogether.

"We want to deal with the low-hanging fruit in the first few months, that's drink stirrers, cutlery, straws, then next year we'll move onto takeaway containers," Mr Speirs said.

"Then we'll be looking at coffee cups, fruit and veg barrier bags.

Over the next couple of years I think we'll move quickly towards being single-use plastic free, there's a real hunger in the community."

He said consumers had demanded environmentally friendly alternatives for some time, with businesses well prepared to manage the change already.

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