As part of Queensland’s Plan to Tackle Plastic Pollution, and following the commencement of the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Act 2021, single use plastic, including; straws, plates, bowls, cutlery and expanded polystyrene containers and cups are banned from supply from 1 September 2021.

The goal of the legislation is to bring an end to the use of as much single use plastic as possible, however it should be noted that there are compassionate exemptions for servicing vulnerable and disability populations.  In general retail situations however, this Act makes it clear that from 1 September 2021, single use plastics and expanded polystyrene containers must not be supplied.

While plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery are banned from supply in a retail setting, there are exceptions.  The ban does not include where these items are part of the product sold – such as a straw in a juice box.

Similarly while plastic bowls and plates are banned from supply in a retail setting, there are exemptions for intrinsic supplied items.  Plates and containers that are part of shelf ready pre packaged food and beverage items, like bowls in a frozen meal, or sushi or sandwich containers are allowed.

Lastly, while the ban applies to expanded polystyrene containers and cups there are exemptions again for food trays (like meet and fruit trays) and included in shelf ready pre packaged goods.

“What this means for fuel retail staff is that where a product arrives to the site inside, or including single use plastic, that ti can be retailed as it arrived, but the business cannot provide loose or additional plastic items.  That means no loose cutlery, straws, plates or stirrers.  While most businesses have not used expanded polystyrene cups for some time, sites should note that these items are no longer allowed” explains ACAPMAs Executive Manager for Employment and Training, Elisha Radwanowski.

Penalties apply for retailers who supply a banned item of up to 50 penalty units ($6,892.50).  Penalties also apply for those who provide false information about a banned item, or provide false information about the nature of an item (such as claims of composability that are false).

Retailers are advised to;

  • Ensure that no prohibited items are offered for sale, supply or distribution after 1 September 2021. It is important to note that this includes any stock that is in the storeroom. A business cannot simply “use up current stock”. Any sale, supply or distribution of prohibited items on or after 1 September 2021 will result in a breach of the Act. So retailers should review their stock and discuss options to return to supplier, recycle or dispose.
  • Consider talking to staff about how the prohibition might effect customers, likely reactions and appropriate responses. The QLD for businesses to explore these items with their staff –
  • Consider if it would be appropriate to communicate the change to your customers in the form of posters. The QL Governments Resources

For more see:

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)