Plas­tic surgery: Speirs calls for ban on sin­gle-use items

Sunday Mail - - NEWS -

At least 8 mil­lion tonnes of plas­tic ends up in the world’s oceans each year with pro­jec­tions for plas­tics to out­num­ber fish by 2050 if cur­rent trends con­tinue.

“Plas­tic is a valu­able ma­te­rial in­te­gral to mod­ern life but, when lit­tered, it ru­ins our en­vi­ron­ment’s pris­tine im­age, and harms ma­rine and ter­res­trial life,” Mr Speirs said.

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the pa­per, Turn­ing the tide on sin­gle-use plas­tic prod­ucts, closes on Fe­bru­ary 22 and Mr Speirs is set to take ac­tion if South Aus­tralians are on board.

Mr Speirs told the Sun­day Mail that SA had tra­di­tion­ally led the na­tion in re­cy­cling and did not want the state to stag­nate un­der his watch. SA is this year cel­e­brat­ing the 10-year an­niver­sary of its plas­tic shop­ping bag ban.

“I think that’s where the pub­lic sen­ti­ment is – the thicker plas­tic bags, the straws and plas­tic-lined cof­fee cups are the sorts of things we want to take to South Aus­tralians and ask whether they want them to be part of life in SA or not,” he said.

“We’re look­ing at do­ing some­thing here and look­ing at ban­ning items if there is a pub­lic ap­petite to do so.

“I do think we will be mov­ing in that direc­tion; I do think the com­mu­nity wants that. I do think there is that pub­lic sup­port and I’m keen to pro­vide the lead­er­ship to get there.”

Fur­ther anal­y­sis on the eco­nomic and com­mu­nity ef­fects of rec­om­men­da­tions will be taken be­fore the State Gov­ern­ment takes any fur­ther steps, Mr Speirs said.

South Aus­tralians use about 255 mil­lion plas­tic straws and up to 210 mil­lion plas­tic-lined take­away cof­fee cups each year, based on pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates. Mr Speirs said ac­tion on sin­gle-use plas­tics was needed both to re­duce the amount of plas­tics go­ing into land­fill and also to stop prod­ucts from lit­ter­ing our parks, oceans and re­serves.

Com­monly lit­tered sin­gleuse plas­tic items in­clude con­fec­tionary wrap­pers, take­away cof­fee cups and lids, straws, drink stir­rers, soft drink bot­tles, cot­ton bud sticks, cig­a­rette butts, food pack­ag­ing and plas­tic bags.

“SA is a national re­cy­cling leader but the amount of waste we cre­ate con­tin­ues to in­crease ev­ery year,” he said.

“We want to use this to in­crease re­cy­cling but we want to avoid use in the first place.”

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on a second dis­cus­sion pa­per, fo­cus­ing on the con­tainer de­posit scheme, also closes on Fe­bru­ary 22.

Ac­tion on sin­gle-use plas­tics has been taken around the world as con­cern grows about the amount of waste flood­ing into oceans, at a rate of a full garbage truck ev­ery minute.

France be­came the first coun­try to an­nounce a national ban on sin­gle-use plas­tics in 2016 with busi­nesses pro­hib­ited from sell­ing plas­tic cups and plates from next year.

The Euro­pean Union last year an­nounced its plan to ban nu­mer­ous sin­gle-use plas­tics, in­clud­ing straws, cut­lery, cot­ton buds and bal­loon sticks.

Bans on cer­tain sin­gle-use items have already been im­ple­mented in three US cities, while a ban came into place in the In­dian cap­i­tal, New Delhi, in 2017.

Should all su­per­mar­ket check­out and pro­duce gro­cery bags be made from com­postable ma­te­rial? Should South Aus­tralia take mea­sures against sin­gle-use plas­tics in­clud­ing straws and cof­fee cups? Should the ban on

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