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Single-use plastic items ban

About the ban

As part of Queensland’s plan to tackle plastic pollution (PDF, 4.1 MB) and following support from the community, retailers and industry organisations, the supply of the following single-use plastic items will be banned in Queensland:

  • straws: regular straws, flexible straws, straws with a scoop, cocktail straws and bubble tea straws
  • cutlery: knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, sample tasting spoons, soup spoons, chopsticks, splayds and sporks
  • bowls and plates
  • stirrers: hot or cold drink stirrers, swizzle sticks and hot or cold food stirrers
  • expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and cups, for example ‘clamshell’ style containers.

The ban will start on 1 September 2021.

While single-use plastic straws and cutlery are banned, they can continue to be attached to shelf-ready, pre-packaged products. Examples include a juice box with an attached single-use plastic straw or a yoghurt with an attached single-use plastic spoon.

Information for consumers with disability or health needs

Certain businesses can still supply single-use plastic items after the ban has started to ensure that Queenslanders with disability or health needs are able to access the items they need. Suppliers may also continue to sell banned items to these exempt businesses.

Other businesses such as cafes, hotels and takeaway food shops will no longer be able to supply the banned single-use plastic items, including straws, even when a customer requests one. Customers with a disability or health need will be encouraged to plan ahead and bring their own items when they are out and about.

Information for businesses

All Queensland businesses will be required to stop supplying single-use plastic items after the ban begins, unless they are an exempt business.

Businesses that will no longer be able to provide a banned item include restaurants, cafes, takeaway food shops and supermarkets.

Suppliers, distributors and wholesalers of banned plastic items may continue to supply them to a business if they have a reasonable belief that the business is an exempt business.

Exempt businesses

The following are exempt businesses and can continue to supply banned plastic items:

  • clinics or facilities that provide care to persons with a disability or health needs
  • hospitals
  • dental clinics
  • medical clinics
  • pharmacies
  • aged care facilities
  • medical suppliers

Schools are also exempt from the ban to ensure students, teachers or other staff with a permanent or temporary disability or health need can access these items. Schools will be encouraged to provide sustainable and suitable alternatives to replace single-use plastic items where appropriate.

Alternative items

The single-use plastic items included in the ban have readily available alternatives, and in many cases can be avoided altogether. For example:

  • plastic straws (not always required):
    • single-use paper, bamboo, straw, compostable plastic straws
    • edible and reusable straws made from bamboo, stainless steel, glass and silicone
  • plastic cutlery: stainless steel, reusable plastic and bamboo cutlery
  • plastic bowls and plates: made from paper, reusable plastic, metal or crockery
  • plastic drink stirrers (not always required): wooden paddle/pop sticks, stainless steel teaspoons, glass swizzle sticks
  • expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and cups: made from paper or cardboard or compostable plastic.

How the ban will be enforced

There are a range of penalties associated with the ban.

Any business found to be supplying a banned single-use plastic item or providing false or misleading information to another person about a banned plastic item may face a maximum fine of 50 penalty points (or $6672.50) per offence, with one penalty unit currently valued at $133.45.

What’s next?

Additional single-use plastic items will only be banned after further consultation with Queenslanders.

Other items that may be banned in the future, include:

  • oxo-degradable (fragmentable) plastic items
  • coffee cups and lids
  • other plastic cups
  • plastic dome lids
  • expanded polystyrene loose packaging
  • plastic balloon sticks.

Learn more about the key actions the Queensland Government is undertaking to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle more waste across the state.

Additional information

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the ban please contact the Office of Resource Recovery at wastepolicy@des.qld.gov.au.