Problematic single-use plastics are a pollutant in the environment and a significant risk to marine life and human health. Research undertaken by CSIRO (which can be found on the CSIRO website) has revealed that three-quarters of rubbish along the Australian coastline is plastic, and it is more concentrated around urban areas.
The Tasmanian Government is committed to playing its part to reduce plastic pollution. This includes working with local government, as well as the Australian and other state and territory governments to phase-out a range of problematic single-use plastics (PSUPs) such as plastic straws, bowls, plates, utensils and expanded polystyrene consumer food containers by 2025.
We are doing this by phasing out problematic single-use plastics (PSUPs) from government events and facilities by 2023, with a state-wide legislative phase-out to be in place by 2025.
Adopting a phased approach to removing PSUPs from Tasmania will give government and businesses time to learn, prepare and adjust to sourcing and using alternatives to these plastic types.
The Government is also keen to ensure that as Tasmania moves away from PSUPs that the organic resource recovery sector is prepared for the increase in compostable serviceware (bowls, plates and cutlery) which will be generated by the phase-out. The Tasmanian Government has contributed $6 million to support the establishment of two new in-vessel composting facilities which will assist in managing organic waste (including compostable serviceware) in Tasmania when they come on line. We are keen to ensure that the organic waste generated by a shift to compostable alternatives goes to organic composters, and not to landfill where it may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. More information on Organics and Food Waste in Tasmania can be found on the webpage.
The Tasmanian Government is working on a range of other initiatives to improve waste management and resource recovery in Tasmania and these will assist over the longer term to reduce the amount of plastic entering the environment. For example, a Container Refund Scheme is being introduced in Tasmania. It will enable people to take their eligible beverage containers to designated locations to receive a 10-cent refund on every container. The experience of other Australian states shows that this will result in a reduction in litter. For example, in New South Wales by 2020 there was a 52 per cent reduction in the volume of eligible container litter following the rollout of the scheme in 2017.
See more information on the Container Refund Scheme in Tasmania.