The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking feedback on the next steps to tackle plastic pollution.

Aiming to build on the ban on plastic bags and other disposable plastic items such as straws introduced by former NSW Environment Minister and Member for Manly James Griffin in 2022, the NSW EPA is asking for public input on helping to prevent 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste produced each year from causing harm to the environment and human health.

Tackling plastic pollution

The community is being asked for feedback on the ‘NSW Plastics: Next Steps’ discussion paper, which seeks ways to reduce plastic litter by 30 percent by 2025 and curb the impact of microplastics on the environment.

Although many plastics are an important aspect of modern life and form a part of many products we rely on, not all plastics are essential for the purposes for which they may be used. The NSW EPA wants to look at single-use plastic items, particularly where they are produced in unsustainable ways.

Only 12 percent of plastic waste is recycled, and once thrown away, these products remain in the environment harming wildlife and posing a risk to human health.

Tackling plastic pollution

The discussion paper identifies specific items to target, including takeaway beverage and food containers, bottle lids from beverage containers, lollipop sticks, bread tags and cigarette butts.

Heavyweight plastic shopping bags are also proposed to be phased out, along with helium balloons and small single serve condiment containers such as sauce sachets.

Tackling plastic pollution

NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said the aim is to reduce plastic pollution 60 percent by 2030.

Penny Sharpe

Penny Sharpe

“By 2050, there may be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans. Plastic has become so widespread that we are constantly eating, drinking and breathing it in.

“NSW alone generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year and only 12 percent of it is recycled. We must act. By working together, we can make a real difference and leave the environment in a better state for our children.

“The NSW Government wants to hear your thoughts on what plastic items we should target to minimise harmful impacts on the NSW environment, animals and communities,” said Minister Sharpe.

Public consultation is open for 14 weeks from 29 October 2023 to 04 February 2024 at the NSW EPA website.

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