12 Jan 2024


Single-use plastics - they may be convenient in the moment, but they have a lasting, detrimental impact on our environment. Often used once, these items end up in landfills, discarded by roadsides, littered in parks and endangering marine wildlife like seabirds and turtles when they find their way into our waterways and oceans. 

Australians have contributed heavily to the global plastic pollution crisis. Sadly, we have one of the highest single-use plastic footprints in the world.

But the tide is turning, and we’re seeing positive progress being made, with states and territories making commitments to ban some of the most harmful and unnecessary single-use plastic products.

Excitingly, all that may be about to change with the New South Wales Government reviewing its policies on plastic design, products and management - and they're asking us to contribute to this process by sharing our thoughts on their proposal. 

What is NSW planning?

This bold proposal could see NSW ban some of the worst single-use plastic offenders, like heavy-duty shopping bags and microplastic additives in cleaning supplies and develop new standards for products like single-use dinnerware and lollipop sticks.

If implemented, this could see NSW launch into second place for our next WWF plastics scorecard that tracks all states’ progress on phasing out some of the most polluting single-use plastic products - that’s impressive from Australia’s most populous state!

How you can help

You can take a short (6-minute) survey here - NSW Plastics: Next Steps | NSW Environment Protection Authority.

The primary purpose of the survey is to understand from individuals, communities, businesses and other organisations whether they support or have concerns with the NSW Government’s plan. 

This information will feed into their final decision on which products they should take action on, including design requirements for products like bottle caps, phase outs and bans for certain products like heavy-duty shopping bags or cleaning products that contain microplastics. 

It’s so important that the government hears from as many people as possible that communities want to see ambitious action from the NSW Government to tackle plastic waste and pollution and protect our precious places and wildlife. 

What your submission could cover

The NSW Government mostly wants to know what people support or have concerns with - you don’t need to write an essay; just let them know what you think. 

WWF strongly supports all the waste and pollution-busting options the government is exploring. Our research shows there’s a strong case for global bans on a wide range of single-use plastic products, including:

  • wet wipes
  • plastic cigarette filters 
  • disposable vacuum filters
  • plastic tea bags 
  • plastic balloons
  • cutlery/plates/cups 
  • cotton bud sticks 
  • disposable e-cigarettes 
  • intentionally added microplastics

NSW could lead the way in banning these harmful products. 

In addition, we strongly support the NSW Government's proposal to phase out PFAS - a large, complex group of synthetic chemicals that are known to cause harm to human health, wildlife and landscapes. 

We also believe it’s essential that all Australian states get serious about turbocharging our reuse economy, where single-use products are hardly used at all and reuse is widespread and easily accessible. 

Governments have a critical role to play in building the reuse economy, for example, by supporting and incentivising businesses working hard to scale-up reuse. 

Lastly, it’s really important that clear timelines are attached to these measures. We need to know when these measures will take place, and we’re keen to see them come into effect as soon as possible. 

This is a perfect opportunity for all of us to contribute to a reduction in single-use plastic pollution. In the last five years, we’ve seen a great shift in attitude towards single-use plastics in Australia, and a lot of that is down to the efforts of communities and individuals like you, calling on their governments to take action.

We’d love you to back the NSW Government's proposal by taking the survey. Let's take a massive step together towards reducing harmful plastics pollution - protecting the special species and incredible landscapes we cherish here in Australia.