Ban on Single-Use Plastic Items in Queensland


Queensland Parliament has passed new laws banning the supply of single-use plastic items in order to reduce plastic pollution.

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020 (QLD)

This article applies to all to organisations that produce, sell, supply or distribute certain plastic products.

Please be advised that the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill (Qld) (the Bill) passed its third reading in the Queensland Parliament on 10 March 2021 and is currently awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill amends the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act). The Bill will ban the supply of single-use plastic items, such as straws, stirrers, plates and cutlery to achieve the policy objective of reducing plastic pollution by 20 per cent by 2023.

Restrictions on sale of banned single-use plastic items

Under section 99GC of the Bill, a banned single-use plastic item is a plastic item that is a plate, bowl, an item of cutlery, a straw, a stirrer, a takeaway food container, made in whole or part, of expanded polystyrene (EPS), a cup made in whole or part of EPS, or is prescribed by regulation to be a banned single-use plastic item. However, a single-use plastic item that is an integral part of a shelf-ready product, such as a straw attached to a juice box, or one that is prescribed by regulation, is not a banned single-use plastic item. A shelf-ready product means food or a beverage that is pre-packaged as a single serve and ready for immediate consumption or consumption after cooling or heating the food or beverage.

Under section 99GD of the Bill, a person who conducts a business or undertaking must not, in the course of conducting the business or undertaking, sell a banned single-use plastic item to another person. This offence attracts a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $6,672.50).

This offence does not apply to the sale of a banned single-use plastic item by or to a person who conducts an exempt business or undertaking or if the person selling the item reasonably believes the sale is a step in a supply chain for the supply of the item to a person who conducts an exempt business or undertaking. For example, a manufacturer may sell plastic straws to a distributor if the manufacturer reasonably believes the sale of the straws is a step in a supply chain for the supply of the straws to a pharmacy.

Exempt business or undertaking means a healthcare business or undertaking, a school, a business or undertaking, prescribed by regulation, that involves the sale or supply of banned single-use plastic items for use by persons with a disability or healthcare needs.

Healthcare business or undertaking means a clinic or facility that provides care to persons with a disability or healthcare needs, a dental clinic, a hospital, a medical clinic, a medical supply business or undertaking, a pharmacy or a business or undertaking that is substantially similar to the above-mentioned.

Giving false or misleading information about banned single-use plastic items

Under section of 99GE of the Bill, a person must not give information that the person knows is false or misleading to another person about the composition of a banned single-use plastic item or whether or not a plastic item is a banned single-use plastic item. This offence attracts a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $6,672.50).

Conditions under which plastic items are compostable

Section 99GF applies if a person conducts a manufacturing, wholesale, distribution or import business or undertaking and in the course of conducting the business or undertaking, sells a plastic item that is compostable to another person. The person must ensure the conditions under which the plastic item is compostable are clearly and legibly written on the packaging for the plastic item or in information or a document accompanying the plastic item. Failure to apply the conditions in accordance with the Act will attract a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $6,672.50).

In this section, condition, under which a plastic item is compostable, includes whether the plastic item is suitable for industrial or home composting and whether the plastic item is compostable under AS 4736 or AS 5810.

Giving false or misleading information about plastic items

A person must not give information, or a document containing information, that the person knows is false or misleading to another person about whether or not a plastic item is compostable.

This attracts a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $6,672.50).

Please click here to access the full Bill.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au