Ban brings a smile to Emma's face

RECYCLE: Zero Waste Whyalla Founder Emma Wake (right) is thrilled to see the state government commit to banning single-use plastics.
RECYCLE: Zero Waste Whyalla Founder Emma Wake (right) is thrilled to see the state government commit to banning single-use plastics.

News that the state government will be introducing legislation to ban a range of single-use plastics in South Australia has been well received by local green living advocate Emma Wake.

Ms Wake, who is the founder of Zero Waste Whyalla, has been fostering change in the Whyalla community for several years by encouraging businesses to reduce their usage of single-use plastics like straws and coffee cups.

Straws, plastic cutlery and stirrers would be the first products hit by the state government's proposed ban, with a range of other products to be considered for future intervention.

Ms Wake said she's 'absolutely thrilled' by the state government's action on reducing waste.

"It shows that people are starting to understand that there is an impact from their choices," she said.

Asked how effective this ban will be, Ms Wake said she was cautiously optimistic following the controversy of the plastic bag ban in South Australia.

"What I am timid about is that when we had that plastic bag ban, 12-18 months after that people were allowed to get through a loophole and use thick plastic bags that were labelled 'reusable'," she said.

"Instead of people actually making the most of bringing the right bags, Woolies and Coles brought those bags in and everyone was using these thick plastic bags which are a huge part of pollution in rivers and waterways.

"This time I hope we learn from those mistakes."

The banning of plastic products will be piloted through voluntary business led 'plastic-free precincts' which will identify opportunities and challenges associated with transitioning away from single-use plastic products and inform the legislation.

To help inform the development of the legislation, a stakeholder taskforce will be established.

The taskforce will comprise of representatives of selected business, industry, local government and interest groups to ensure that impacts are mitigated and appropriate time is given for transition.

Environment Minister David Speirs said a discussion paper earlier this year received strong feedback from South Australians keen to see action on single-use plastics.

"It is clear from the more than 3,500 submissions that there is significant community and industry support for increased measures to address a range of single-use plastic products and other items," he said.