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Businesses preparing for state’s single-use plastics ban

With just over a month to go, businesses across Queensland are getting ready for Queensland’s ban of single-use plastics.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the Palaszczuk Government was teaming up with Australia’s peak retail body the National Retail Association (NRA) as well as the Boomerang Alliance for a travelling roadshow to make sure businesses and community groups were ready for the shift to more sustainable products.

“Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once, ending up in landfill and harming our environment,” Minister Scanlon said.

“Banning single-use plastics adds to our record $1.4 billion investment to protect the environment and create jobs as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery, as well as a the hugely successful Containers for Change Program.

“We’ve already seen the enormous benefits of the lightweight single-use plastic shopping bag ban, with surveys showing a 70 per cent reduction in all plastic bag litter since the bag ban began in 2018.

“As our economy and jobs recover from the impacts of COVID-19 thanks to our economic recovery plan, so too will our environment with the ban of even more single-use plastics.

The September 1 ban includes single-use plastic items such as straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls, as well as expanded polystyrene cups and takeaway containers.

“The ban prevents plastic items being supplied in Queensland regardless of whether they are free with your meal or sold in packets in party supply stores.

And there will be exemptions for particular organisations, to ensure that Queenslanders with disability or healthcare needs can continue to access necessary items.

Visiting retailers at the Mount Ommaney Shopping with Mount Ommaney MP Jess Pugh, Minister Scanlon said many business owners were already sourcing alternative products as needed.

“Japanice & Cluck Cluck at 8 Street in Brisbane’s west have already started using innovative palm leaf plates and wooden bento boxes.

“From industry and government to community groups and Queenslanders as a whole, we’re ready to trash our single-use plastic habits.”

The National Retail Association (NRA) has been appointed to engage and educate businesses, including visits to up to 7500 businesses across the state, and running a telephone hotline so that businesses can call for advice on banned items and suitable alternative products.

The business hotline number is 1800 844 946 and website is www.qldplasticsban.com.au

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said many retailers have been proactive in sustainability efforts and have been moving away from “single-use” plastics, such as straws, cutlery and other items.

“Queensland businesses are already transitioning to comply with the ban and we encourage consumers to support them by bringing reusables, thinking about whether you need straws or cutlery, or just understanding that tableware items we offer will be a little different now,” Ms Lamb said.

“The NRA supports these initiatives to improve environmental impacts from single-use plastics and has worked hard with government and industry to ensure these laws are nationally consistent, fair for all retailers, are carefully considered and researched, and are realistic.

“I am pleased that Queensland’s new laws have taken our views on board and business will work to ensure their success.”

Queensland Manager of Boomerang Alliance, Toby Hutcheon, said Boomerang Alliance was running forums throughout Queensland, on behalf of the Queensland Government, to help prepare businesses and the community for the upcoming single-use plastic ban.

“We are conducting these forums to answer questions on what items are included in the ban, what alternative products can be used, and how individual businesses and the community can adapt to comply with the ban,” Mr Hutcheon said.

“Forums are held in the evenings and consist of a 30-minute presentation and a Q&A session.

“Importantly, the forums will also include explanations on practices to avoid and reduce single-use plastics in specific scenarios, such as at sausage sizzles and sports events.

“These forums complement the programs Boomerang Alliance runs that support the reduction in single-use plastics, including our Plastic Free Places in Townsville, Cairns and Noosa.”

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