Tuesday 5 September 2023


One-off state-based single-use plastic bans are not the best answer to the material challenge facing Australia, according to the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR).

“While the waste and resource recovery industry welcomes moves to reduce our reliance on single-use items including plastic, one-off state-based bans aren’t the best answer,” said WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan.

“Australia is a single market and all states should move as such,” Ms Sloan said.

“The priority should be on a nationally consistent approach - not just to plastic but all material streams - with the aim of reducing waste and creating business and community certainty.

“Avoidance of creating waste is the best possible thing. So before reaching for the paper straw and patting yourself on the back. Think whether you need the straw at all.

“One-off bans in certain states has not only created confusion for communities, but also real inefficiency for business – particularly when this action is so often targeted at trivial things which will not make any real impact.

“Focusing our energy on plastic stemmed cotton buds when Australia generates 76 million tonnes of waste a year risks looking like fiddling while Rome burns - particularly when one considers that the conversation we really need to have is how do we change behaviour to avoid all single use, support innovation in re-use and extending life of resources.

“We understand each state wants to flex its muscles and say ‘I’m greener than the lot next door’ but moving consistently as one nation is the best way forward.

“When tied to recycled content use and real behaviour change, national consistency – rather than bans – will empower the community, grow industry and provide business with the certainty it needs to invest infrastructure and systems to support the aim of a circular economy. 

“Australia needs a national plastics pact that commits governments and businesses across the entire supply chain to not only phase out problematic plastics, but also ensures consistent and sensible design and recycled content uptake,” she said.