On February 27 2021, Australia’s Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced Victoria’s plans to ban certain types of single-use plastic by February 2023. This new legislation plans to ban specific genres of single-use plastic such as cutlery, straws, and polystyrene plates and cups.
According to Lily D’Ambrosio in an article on The Guardian: “Single-use plastic items – like straws and plastic cups – make up about one-third of Victoria’s litter. […] We need to change this, so we’re getting rid of them.”
The Victorian Greens have positively received this news. One of their missions during the past few years has been to call for the ban of a wide range of single-use plastics that are harmful to the environment, the wildlife, and the population.
According to the 2018 Victorian Greens’ plan to ban such plastics, Australians use approximately 4 billion plastic bags per year, which equals to 10 million bags daily. Not only do these kinds of plastic injure the environment and people, but it also increases the cost of clean-up procedures.
However, the Victorian Greens will not stop there. In a press release on the Victorian Greens’ official website, they have pledged to push for a broader ban.
Once this new legislation comes into Parliament, they will seek to amend it by pushing for even stricter measures. Despite this new important step forward, the Greens have stated that there is room for a wider range of measures regarding the ban on single-use plastic.
Some types of plastic that are currently not included in the legislation are fruit wrapped in plastic, produce barrier bags, and fruit stickers, which are more commonly found in supermarkets. The Greens want to ban these single-use plastics as well.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses such as coffee shops have altogether ceased to accept reusable items such as cups in order to avoid possible virus cross-contamination. This has caused a stronger reliance on single-use plastics notably in the medical field.
Nonetheless, Minister D’Ambrosio specified that medical gear and hospital equipment such as gloves and masks will not be affected by this new legislation for safety reasons.