Wildlife Queensland welcomed this month the tabling of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 into the Queensland Parliament. The bill legislates a ban on lightweight plastics bags and the introduction of a Container Refund Scheme, both in 2018, and has closed a potentially problematic loophole to boot.
“Wildlife Queensland and its member groups have long campaigned for a ban on single-use plastic bags due to the devastating impact that plastic bags have on wildlife,” said Peter Ogilvie, President.
“The introduction of this bill, which will ban all lightweight single-use plastic bags including degradable and biodegradable bags, will significantly reduce that threat to wildlife,” he said.
Following concerns raised in the recent ABC series War on Waste, WPSQ is pleased to report that its representations to the government on the possible use of thicker bags have been heard. The Government has closed a loophole that could have allowed some retailers to supply thicker plastic bags (>35 microns). These thicker bags are still dangerous to wildlife and currently represent about 38 percent of plastic bag litter.
Approximately 1 billion plastic bags are used in Queensland every year, with an estimated 20 million littered. With a ban in place, consumers can use their own BYO bags and reduce a major litter problem.
The proposed legislation also includes the introduction of a Container Refund Scheme in Queensland, an initiative that has the full support of Wildlife Queensland and its members.
“These two measures can reduce litter, particularly plastic litter, by at least 50 percent in Queensland. It is our view that the introduction of these two measures represents the most significant policy on litter reduction in a generation,” stated Peter Ogilvie.
“Wildlife Queensland congratulates the State Government for introducing the bill, the Opposition LNP for taking the initiative to publicly back these measures, and the Independents in the Parliament for supporting the plans,” said Toby Hutcheon, plastics campaigner for Wildlife Queensland.
It is now up to Parliament to pass the legislation as soon as practical to allow for the timely introduction of both measures in July 2018. Wildlife Queensland will be keeping a watchful eye on the process, and its members and supporters well informed. Stay tuned!