Plastics ban to be rolled out

Local businesses have been left confused with the announcement that single-use plastics will be banned within weeks. The State Government is launching a two-stage ban, with the first stage prohibiting the sale of single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery from March 1.

The second phase of the ban, which will start in March 2022, will also prohibit the manufacture and sale of expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clamshell containers in the state.

Fourth-generation family-owned supply business J.O. Berkefeld’s Matthew and Simon Berkefeld (pictured) have said that while “it is a positive move for the state”, it is one that has left customers confused. “There is confusion on what is allowed because a lot of people are not aware that this first initial ban only applies to straws and cutlery,” Matthew said.

“Compostable plastic cutlery such as sugar cane are also banned, but paper straws and bamboo cutlery are sustainable alternatives.” Simon said even though the ban was imminent, it had not essentially affected the Mount Gambier store’s sales or other businesses because it was a trend that was already happening.

“It was hard to find these options a while ago but now they have become increasingly popular, they are easier to source,” he said. “Alternatives are more expensive at the moment, but we are finding the price is going down as the demand goes up.”

Matthew said customers were adjusting to the coming changes. “This first phase – cutlery and straws – is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “It will be the second phase next year that’ll cause a lot more people to have to adjust to the way they go about things.

“The second phase will likely have more of an impact because there is a lot more items being phased out.” Simon said there were positives that would come out of the new laws.

“You get the odd complaint about paper straws, but people will get used to these new regulations and embrace this beneficial change,” he said.

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