‘That’s the last straw’

More than 120 million plastic straws have been taken off the shelves in the first six months of South Australia’s historic single-use plastics ban.

In March, SA became the first state in Australia to ban plastic drinking straws, stirrers and cutlery from sale, supply or distribution.

This has led to a significant reduction in the amount of plastic entering SA’s environment with around 700,000 plastic straws used across the state every day before the ban was enforced.

 Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said March 1, 2021 would forever be a proud day for the state.

“South Australia has always led the nation when it comes to environmental issues and the Marshall Liberal Government’s historic ban on single-use plastics is no different,” Minister Speirs said.

“In the first six months of the ban it is estimated more than 120 million plastic straws have been removed from distribution. Amazingly, if you were to put these end-to-end, they would comfortably cover the distance from Adelaide to London.

“I am proud to be part of a government which is protecting our environment for future generations, reducing litter and promoting a shift away from a single-use, throwaway mindset.

“Our legislation is not just stopping at straws, cutlery and stirrers, with expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clam-shell containers and oxo-degradable plastic products to be banned from March 1, 2022.

“We will continue to consider more products such as takeaway coffee cups and other takeaway food service items as market demand increases and other sustainable alternatives become available.

“Our plastic ban is not just good for the environment – by being a first mover nationally we have already seen businesses who manufacture re-useable and compostable alternatives start to set up in South Australia, which means will have significant economic benefits and create local jobs as well.

“Our legislation has been developed with the help of our Single-Use Plastics Taskforce which has representation from 15 different organisations, including people living with a disability.”

The legislation does not prevent members of the community from bringing their own straws to cafes and any business can choose to supply individual single-use plastic drinking straws on request, due to disability or medical needs.

Prescribed businesses including pharmacies, Local Government offices, charities and medical, dental and care facilities are able to sell and supply packs of straws for these purposes.

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