Making positive changes for the environment is in, single-use plastics are out. Here’s what you need to know.
Plastics play an important role in our economy and daily lives, helping ensure food safety and reducing food waste.
But too often, the way plastics are produced, used and discarded results in a wasted resource, causing pollution, litter and harming marine life.
At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year, and it has been estimated that if current trends continue, by 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish.
At the beginning of this month, SA became the first state or territory in Australia to ban single-use plastic products – a significant and positive step towards avoiding waste.
What does the ban cover?
As of the start of this month, single-use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers are prohibited from being sold, supplied and distributed in SA.
Next year, the ban will extend to the sale, supply and distribution of polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, clamshell containers and oxo-degradable plastic products.
Single-use plastic drinking straws will continue to be available for people who rely on these for disability or health needs.
Any business can still choose to supply individual single-use plastic drinking straws on request, and some pharmacies, local government offices, charities and medical, dental and care facilities can choose to sell and supply single-use plastic drinking straws.
Why stop there?
SA’s ban on single-use plastics focuses on the people who buy and supply products to the public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps at home to reduce your plastic waste.
Why not consider swapping out these items too:
You can play a part in reducing the number of plastic bags that end up in our oceans and waterways by using your own reusable shopping bags and produce bags, and keeping them handy for when you visit the shops or the supermarket.
Remember, shops charge for plastic bags, so it’s better for your budget and better for the environment to always ‘BYO bags’.
Cling wrap is a kitchen staple for many, but it’s something we can easily swap out for a more environmentally friendly option.
Instead of wrapping up your leftovers with cling wrap, you could instead opt for a reusable food wrap, for example a beeswax wrap, or just pop your food straight into a container.
Plastic pegs once seemed to be a great replacement for wooden pegs, but are now just another common contributor to plastic pollution when they fade and break.
So next time you find yourself frustrated at snapping pegs, consider investing in stainless steel pegs – they’re strong, so they’ll last a lifetime.
And what’s even better – they’ll definitely stop your clothes from blowing off the washing line in the wind!
Plastic plates at parties
Cleaning up after a party can be a drag, especially when there seems to be a thousand dishes to wash.
It might seem easier to opt for using plastic plates and cutlery, but you could consider eco-friendly party supplies instead so you can still have an easy clean-up, but without the waste (or even better, you could just enlist a few helpers to help wash regular dishes!).
By making these small changes, you can make a positive change for the environment, now and into the future.
Interested in learning more about how you can live low-waste? Check out our stories: How to have a low-waste camping trip when it comes to your menu and 3 easy tips to reduce your food waste.
And for more information on SA’s ban on single-use plastics, visit the Replace the Waste website.
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