Learn more about the bans
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About the plastics bans
On 16 November 2021, the NSW Government passed the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021. This legislation delivers on the government’s commitment to ban certain problematic plastics, such as single-use plastics and address the problem of plastic waste.
Input from over 16,000 people helped develop this legislation and the related NSW Plastics Action Plan. Support for action on plastic waste was widespread with 98% supporting a phase out of single-use plastics.
This legislation provides a comprehensive framework that will help transition NSW towards a circular economy where materials and resources are valued and kept in the productive economy while creating jobs and protecting the environment and the community.
Lightweight single-use plastic bags were banned from 1 June, and from 1 November, the NSW Government is banning further items, including:
- single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls (without lids) and cotton buds
- food ware and cups made from expanded polystyrene
- rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads.
Single-use plastic items not scheduled for phase out remain of concern. However, both Government and industry need to do more work to ensure sustainable alternatives are widely available. We will review further items and the available alternatives by 2024 (3 years from passage of legislation) to determine whether a phase out is appropriate at that time.
The NSW Plastics Action Plan identifies the following items for review, though more items may be added:
- plastic bowls (with lids)
- plastic cups (including lids)
- oxo-degradable plastics
- fruit stickers
- heavyweight plastic shopping bags
- barrer and product bags.
Who does the plastics ban apply to?
A person must not supply a prohibited item in NSW while carrying on a business.
This includes supplying the item while:
- carrying on an activity for commercial purposes. For example:
- retail businesses like a restaurant, cafe, bar, takeaway food shop, party supply store, discount store, supermarket, market stall, online store, and packaging supplier and distributor, and any other retailer that provides these items to consumers.
- a manufacturer, supplier, distributor or wholesaler of a prohibited item
- carrying on an activity for charitable, sporting, education or community purposes. For example, a community group, not-for-profit organisation or charity, including those that use a banned item as part of a service, for daily activities or during fundraising events.
- Visit the plastics ban website
- Businesses or community organisations can register excess stock for recycling at the Great Plastic Rescue
- Businesses can contact the National Retail Association hotline on 1800 844946 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For general enquiries about the ban please check the FAQs (PDF, 113.86 KB). If your query is not answered please contact the EPA at email@example.com or call Environment Line on 131555