Ban Plastics WA

The Greens (WA) Position:

If our current rates of plastic production and disposal continue, it is estimated that the volume of plastic in the ocean will outweigh the volume of sea life by 2050. Our oceans are forming islands of waste and we’re facing the unprecedented death of wildlife. Plastic is so rampant we’ve even begun to eat it ourselves.

Our Environment sustains all life, it should be enjoyed and protected. We need waste-free oceans, parks and beaches. The time to take action was years ago, so we have no time to lose when it comes to reducing waste. We must act now to stop plastic ending up in oceans, habitats, and landfill.

The effect that plastic has on our environment is horrific, and so senseless when there are clear alternatives available. The Greens (WA) support restricted supply of plastic bags, balloons, plastic drinking straws, and polyethylene and polystyrene packaging. In addition, the Greens (WA) support the prohibition of products containing plastic microbeads through the whole of Western Australia.

Plastic Bags and Western Australia:

There has been a clear groundswell of community action, with individuals, community groups and businesses taking carriage of waste reduction. In March 2018, The Greens (WA) environment spokesperson Robin Chapple tabled a petition with over 2000 signatures to parliament calling on members to pass his Bill to ban certain single-use plastics. Working collaboratively with Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign Australia to collect signatures, Robin Chapple MLC signifies the ban would create choice for consumers by limiting wasteful single use plastics from entering both landfill and the natural environment.

Following the European Union’s proposal of a ban on plastics in May 2018, Greens WA waste spokesperson, Robin Chapple, introduced the Environmental Protection Amendment (Banning Plastic Bags and Other Things) Bill 2017, which would place a ban on single use plastics with appropriate exemptions regarding medicine and access issues.

The Greens (WA) Environmental Protection Amendment (Banning Plastic Bags and Other Things) Bill 2017, was successfully passed, a significant step in the right direction to reducing plastic waste. The legislation came into effect on the 1 July 2018 which saw the ban of supplying lightweight plastic bags—including bags that are biodegradable, degradable or compostable—with handles 35 microns thick or less. The State-wide plastic bag ban applies to all retailers - not just supermarkets. However, any penalties for retailer’s non-compliance with the legislation will not come into effect until January 2019, resulting in a further six months of potential plastic pollution, punishment free.

Why the ban is not enough:

It has been an exceptional achievement to pass the Bill to ban the use of single-use plastic bags. However, it is unlikely this ban will solve the dire issue of plastic pollution in both WA and the globe. Although WA is taking positive steps forward to reduce plastic wastage, it is not enough. The following demonstrate why this ban is not the end of our efforts to effectively eliminate the ongoing plastic pollution:

  • It only applies to all retailers in WA for single-use, lightweight polyethylene polymer plastic bags that are less than 35 microns in thickness.
  • Thicker plastic bags are worse for the environment, taking far longer to break down than lightweight plastic bags, putting our marine life at increased risk of ingestion.
  • Quebec recycling group, Recyc-Quebec conducted a study which demonstrated for the thicker plastic bags to be more environmentally sustainable than the thin bags, they must be used three to six more times.
  • The ban does not include the provision of other plastic bags for example, bags for fruit and vegetables.

Robin Chapple MLC:

“I’ve heard enough about taking baby-steps, we need to ban all plastic bags yesterday.”

What you can do:

Follow this link to the Greens (WA) website for comprehensive steps in how you as an individual can help to effectively solve the issue of plastic pollution:

https://greens.org.au/wa/campaign/waste-free

Aims:

The Greens (WA) want:

  • A society that is actively and collaboratively progressing towards zero waste2 by waste avoidance, reduction, re-use/repair, recycling and recovery;
  • To motivate individuals and businesses to understand and support the environmental, social and economic benefits of waste minimisation;
  • To minimise the use of limited resources;
  • Specific targets to eliminate industrial and hazardous waste streams and drive clean production;
  • Policy and financial incentives to develop processes for recycling and recovery of domestic and industrial wastes;
  • To remove economic drivers that encourage waste and wasteful practices;
  • A legislated, independent authority that protects the community and the environment from the impacts of toxic and hazardous waste streams.

Measures:

The Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and actions that:

  • Implement a fully costed and well-regulated container deposit system for Western Australia;
  • Build a state waste strategy that fully articulates, prioritises and applies the waste hierarchy (avoidance and minimisation, reuse, recycling, recovery, disposal);
  • Has a focus on reducing biodegradable  waste to landfill to minimum levels within ten years;
  • Require mandatory extended producer responsibility /  product stewardship by manufacturers and importers of consumer goods, particularly electronic goods;
  • Require mandatory reduction of packaging material by manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods;
  • Creates incentives for industrial design responsibility which reduces virgin resource3 use in the manufacture of products, and which requires full recyclability of products where possible;
  • Ensure that the full ecological costs of resources and waste management are borne by the producer;
  • Ensure that any new proposals that generate dioxin and persistent organic pollutants4 (such as mixed waste landfills) comply with Australia’s obligations under the Stockholm Treaty and phase out any existing non-complying technologies;
  • Prevent the term ‘recycling or recovery’ being used to justify export to, or siting of, waste treatment facilities in disadvantaged communities in Australia or overseas;
  • Reject the incineration of waste through thermal waste technologies, such as, mass combustion incineration, pyrolysis, gasification, plasma arc and direct thermal desorption;
  • Provide government incentives and education schemes for local government and private alternative waste management treatment options that divert putrescible organic waste from landfill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Educate the community about the consequences of generating waste and the benefits of and ways to participate in application of the waste hierarchy
  • Create cost efficient reporting systems to define the true volumes, generators and types of waste, so as to target reduction strategies and evaluate success
  • Research, fund and publicise independent testing and evaluation of products to minimise the manufacture, import and sale of products found to be unreliable, transitory, inefficient, non-recyclable, unreasonably costly to repair, toxic or dangerous
  • Ensure that local governments are fully supported and well-resourced to apply recovery and recycling schemes which divert waste from landfill
  • Redirect revenues from the fines collected under the Waste Levy Act to the relevant local governments
  • Ensure the waste levy is  spent on  waste management strategies in line with the waste hierarchy
  • Support and fund comprehensive recycling and recovery infrastructure tailored to regional Western Australia
  • Adopt appropriate Best Practice Environment Management (BPEM) guidelines for the siting and management of landfills in WA, along the lines of the BPEM guidelines issued by the Victorian EPA. These guidelines should include clear advice regarding the siting of the landfills in relation to nearby sensitive flora and fauna populations and groundwater resources, as well as management of predator and scavenger species.

(See also the Australian Greens Waste policy)

 
 
 
 

Please email only your local member and the Environment Minister:

Use the WAEC website to find both your electoral region and district then find the corresponding Legislative Assembly and Legislative council member below. 

Use the form below to send an email regarding the bill to your respective upper and lower house parliamentarian.
 
Tips on writing to the Minister:
  • While we are happy to provide a default letter, we strongly encourage you to add why you personally care about this issue.
  • Personalise your email as much as possible.
  • Start by stating that you're a local resident of your electorate, and explain why this issue: is important to you; affects your family and daily life; is particularly relevant to your local area.
  • Your MPs take personalised emails from their electors much more seriously than pro-forma emails.
You can also contact the Ministers directly from the contact pages on the WA Government website.
Your name
A copy of your letter will be sent to this address.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Go to top