NSW Government introduces Next Steps to tackle plastic pollution

Above: Minister for the environment Penny Sharpe

The NSW Government is ramping up efforts to tackle plastic pollution by inviting the public to have its say on helping to prevent 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste produced each year from causing harm to the environment and human health.

Industry, businesses and the community are encouraged to share their feedback on the ‘NSW Plastics: Next Steps’ discussion paper as we move to reduce plastic litter by 30 per cent by 2025, curb the impact of microplastics and align with other states and territories. 

Plastics are an important part of many products we rely on, but not all plastics are essential. Often, they are produced in unsustainable ways to be used only once and then discarded.

Only 12 per cent of plastic waste is recycled and once thrown away, these products don’t disappear. Instead, they pollute the environment, harm wildlife, pose a risk to human health and contribute to climate change.

‘NSW Plastics: Next Steps’ identifies and addresses items and materials that:

  • are frequently littered or release microplastics into the environment
  • contain harmful chemical additives
  • are regulated or proposed to be in other states and territories.

Items containing plastic such as lollipop sticks, cigarette butts, bread tags and heavyweight plastic shopping bags are some of the problematic products that could be redesigned or phased out.

Consultation began on 29 October 2023 and runs until 4 February 2024.

To participate in the future of plastics, visit NSW Environment Protection Authoritylaunch

All feedback will inform further actions to tackle problematic and unnecessary plastics.

“By 2050 there may be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans. Plastic has become so widespread that we are constantly eating, drinking and breathing it in. NSW alone generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year and only 12% of it is recycled,” minister for the environment Penny Sharpe said.

“We must act. By working together, we can make a real difference and leave the environment in a better state for our children.

“The NSW Government wants to hear your thoughts on what plastic items we should target to minimise harmful impacts on the NSW environment, animals and communities.”

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