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Well past time that NSW took action on plastic pollution

Independent NSW MP Justin Field has welcomed an announcement by the NSW Coalition Government that single-use plastic bags will be banned in NSW and that the state will undertake a public consultation on a long-term plan to phase out other problematic single-use plastics, clean-up plastic pollution and increase recycling rates.

Mr Field said, “NSW is finally coming on board the global movement away from single-use plastics. The community has long moved on from just banning the bag - they want a plan to get rid of all single-use plastics and move to a circular economy and hopefully this plan can start NSW down that path.

“We know that by 2050 scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. This is a global problem but action must start at home.

“A public consultation is important for building public and industry support, but we know what we need to do. Those easily replaceable single-use plastics like bags, straws, take away containers, cups, and polystyrene need to be phased out.

"Reducing consumption, mandating recycled content in local products and investing in technology to replace plastics is where the focus needs to be now.

"The NSW Government’s container deposit scheme is working well which shows how regulation can address pollution issues but without ensuring there is a market for the recycled plastic we're just creating an ever growing waste stream.

“One of the plastic types we’re starting to realise is a huge problem is microfibres which come off our synthetic clothes each time we do a load of washing. These are going down the drain are making their way into the ocean and we know now that most fish in the sea have consumed these plastics. Stopping this pollution will require cooperation with manufacturers, consumers and water utilities, and for that will need a plan.

“The NSW announcement follows similar efforts around the world and across other Australian states. Last year the European Union and Canada committed to ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021. All other states and territories in Australia have announced plans or have already banned single-use plastics bags and a Senate inquiry has recommended that Commonwealth and State Governments work to phase out petroleum-based single-use plastics by 2023.

“This announcement is better late than ever. I encourage people to engage in the consultation and ensure the NSW Government takes the strongest action possible to deal with plastic pollution, gets rid of as many polluting single-use plastic products as possible and works with industry to build a recycling industry that can ensure we are not adding to the waste stream that is costing the earth.

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