Lower north shore cafes could cop $11,000 fine for using plastic cutlery under new laws enforced in NSW.
By ANNA USHER
Local cafes and restaurants using or providing plastic plates, cutlery, chopsticks and straws could be fined $11,000 from next week under new laws about to be enforced in NSW.
Same goes for polystyrene cups and food ware, toothpicks, cotton buds and cleansers containing plastic microbeads.
For generations, these items have been part of everyday Australian life, but time is up from November 1, when the second stage of the Government’s single-use plastics ban is introduced.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) says the new rules apply to manufacturers, wholesalers, businesses, and community organisations using “traditional” plastics as well as any biodegradable, compostable or bioplastics alternatives, including those made from Australian certified compostable plastic.
Plastic lined paper plates and bowls will be “temporarily exempt” and can be supplied until 31 October, 2024.
Minister for the Environment James Griffin said outlawing single-use plastics will prevent almost 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the NSW environment in the next two decades.
“About 95% of the litter on our beaches and waterways comes from suburban streets,” he said, “Single use plastics and packaging make up two-thirds of all litter in the state.”
On the spot fines will range from $1100 for an individual to $5500 for a corporation.
If the matter goes to Court, you could be slugged up to $11,000 (individuals) to $55,000 (corporation).
The National Retail Organisation will provide ongoing support for 40,000 businesses across NSW as they phase out single use items.
Educational material and in-person advice has also been provided in more than 15 different languages to support people and communities with diverse backgrounds.
The NSW Government has partnered with Great Plastic Rescue to collect excess stock from wholesalers, distributors, retailers, businesses and not-for-profits for recycling and remanufacturing into new items.
What IS banned?
From 1 June 2022:
- Lightweight plastic bags with handles (35 microns or less) were banned.
From 1 November 2022:
- Single-use plastic straws
- Single-use plastic cutlery, including plastic chopsticks and sporks
- Single-use plastic stirrers
- Single-use plastic bowls (excluding bowls with a spill-proof lid)
- Single-use plastic plates
- Single-use plastic cotton buds
- Expanded polystyrene food service items
• Plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products such as face and body cleansers, exfoliants and masks, shampoo, conditioner and hair dyes, and toothpaste.
What IS NOT banned?
From 1 June 2022, the ban on lightweight plastic bags does not apply to:
- Barrier bags such as bin liners, human or animal waste bags (such as nappy bags, bags for collecting food waste for FOGO systems, pet waste bags)
- Produce bags and deli bags
- Bags used to contain medical items (excluding bags provided by a retailer to a consumer used to transport medical items from the retailer).
From 1 November 2022 the ban on single-use plastic items does not apply to:
- Serving utensils such as salad servers or tongs
- Coffee cups
- Plastic cups
- Items that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages, or are included within or attached to that packaging, through an automated process (such as a straw attached to a juice box)
- Single-use plastic bowls designed or intended to have a spill-proof lid, such as those used for a takeaway soup
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) meat or produce trays
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging, including consumer and business-to-business packaging and transport containers
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) items that are an integrated part of the packaging used to seal or contain food or beverages, or are including within or attached to that packaging, through an automated process (such as an EPS noodle cup).
Want to know more? For more information on the NSW Government’s single use plastic band visit the WEBSITE.