From 1st November the NSW government has committed to banning several commonly used plastic items in an attempt to reduce plastic litter across the state.
Why ban single-use plastics?
Each year Australia produces 2.5m tonnes of plastic waste and around 84% of that ends up in landfill. Plastic waste is also a huge environmental concern, with around 130,000 tonnes leaking into the environment every year. Consumers have been making tireless efforts to reduce their use of plastics and now we are not alone in these efforts.
According to the National Waste Report 2020 prepared for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, only 13% of the 3.5 million tons of plastic used in 2018 and 2019 were recycled.
In 2021 the Australian government announced its National Plastics Plan that was developed after the 2020 National Plastics Summit and aimed to have 100% of packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
This plan outlined their approach to increase plastic recycling, find alternatives to unnecessary plastics and reduce the impact of plastic on the environment. It also includes eight types of “problematic and unnecessary” plastic waste that would be phased out and now NSW is taking an important step in the right direction.
For the environmentally conscious consumer, these are plastics that are already avoided where possible, but in case you’re unsure or worried about how this change will affect you or others that you know here is a handy guide on eco swaps in preparation for the phase out.
What is being banned?
The ultimate option to reduce plastic utensils is to carry a set with you from home, otherwise bamboo cutlery is a more environmentally friendly option that many retailers are likely to switch to.
If you take sugar in your tea or coffee then add it at the cafe using a regular teaspoon, otherwise you can use your reusable straw that we are about to discuss!
The war on plastic straws is finally being won! The best options are to opt for no straw or to carry your own metal or bamboo one in your bag where possible. Many cafe’s will also offer cardboard alternatives, yes they go slightly mushy, but at least you can sip happily knowing that you are helping to protect the oceans.
Polystyrene food containers
Most take away food places will likely opt for bamboo or cardboard instead once this is phased out, but to go one step better if you can opt to dine in then there is no waste needed at all.
Plastic cotton buds
You can find bamboo cotton buds at many sustainable supermarkets and they make a great compostable alternative.
Microbeads in personal care products
These have been phased out in Australia since 2015 and you’ll find most exfoliants now contain natural granules such as walnut husk, oats, coffee, salt and sugar instead of these tiny little terrors that were going directly into our oceans.
Since the beginning ZONE By Lydia has said a big fat NO to plastic and polystyrene packaging. It really isn’t needed when paper, cardboard, recycled materials, corn and rice starch and wheat straw options are readily available for businesses to use.
At ZONE, we use natural sustainable materials like cork and hemp right through from our Cork Yoga Range, Australian Essential Oils to our Hemp clothing. Our eco-friendly packaging is thoughtfully designed to minimise waste and is completely plastic free. Our mission is to provide you with sustainable essentials for yoga, wellness and life. We want to replace the existing 'crap' in the system with products that are premium in quality, durable, stylish and sustainable. We give back to the Earth via 1% For The Planet and are always looking for ways to reduce our footprint on the environment.
Learn more about our sustainability commitment here.