Since plastic was introduced 70 years ago, it has become part of our everyday life. While plastic is a versatile material that can play an important role in some products, we know that unnecessary or problematic plastic items can have disastrous impacts on our environment and wildlife.
This year’s World Environment Day theme is #BeatPlasticPollution. Single-use plastic items and packaging still make up 60% of all litter in NSW. To help with this issue, we need to stop consuming, manufacturing and importing these problem or unnecessary plastics and swap them for more sustainable options.
In 2022, the NSW EPA introduced the first plastic item bans to stop the supply of lightweight plastic bags and other plastic single-use items including cotton buds, straws, bowls (without lids), plates, stirrers and cutlery, along with expanded polystyrene food service items and microbeads in certain rinse-off personal care products.
However, there is more to do if we want to beat plastic pollution. The EPA is considering whether future bans or design standards are needed for a range of additional plastic items.
Have a look at some of these common single-use plastic items and learn more about their environmental impact.