Together, we can beat Australia’s plastic pollution problem. Find out how below. 

Our country’s beautiful coastlines and picturesque waters are threatened by an increasingly urgent waste crisis that we must address now.

Australia is one of the biggest consumers of single-use plastic per person in the world. Over the past decade, our plastic consumption has only continued to grow - from 123kg of plastic consumed per person in 2010 to 147kg in 2021. And only 14% of that is recycled. 

Up to 145,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into the environment every year, which can have devastating impacts on our wildlife.

If it enters the ocean, plastic endangers our marine wildlife. Studies have also shown that it has begun entering the food chain and is ending up on our plates. 

Plastic is an incredibly versatile material, made to be strong and durable. Unfortunately, most plastics are made to be used once before being discarded. 

They’re convenient for a few minutes but often end up in landfills, by the sides of roads, as litter in parks and floating in our oceans, where they break up into microplastics.

The truth is plastic is everywhere, and it doesn’t disappear.

But together, we can fix this urgent waste crisis now.

There's more to this story

Check out all the info and find some handy tips to help you move away from single-use plastics.
Manta ray swimming with plastic
Manta ray swimming with plastic © WWF / Vincent Kneefel

State of Plastics Scorecard

In 2019, we released Australia’s first single-use plastic scorecard to show how much progress Australian states and territories have made in tackling our country's single-use plastics problem. It revealed the country wasn’t ‘fantastic on plastic’.

Since then, six out of eight states and territories have introduced laws to ban some of the most harmful and unnecessary single-use plastics. More laws are in development, and we’ll soon have nationwide bans on some of the most harmful single-use plastic products. A big win for our wildlife!

Thank you to our supporters and people from around the country who have helped make this change possible. Your voice and actions matter and have helped reduce plastics from leaking into nature and the places our wildlife call home. But we must continue to keep pressure on our governments and retailers. We have achieved a lot, but plastics still threaten our communities, wildlife and planet.  

Find out how your state or territory is performing here

Read the latest report
Baby turtle hatchling climbing over plastic bottle, Juani Island, Tanzania
Baby turtle hatchling climbing over plastic bottle, Juani Island, Tanzania © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK

Small actions = big change

All Australians have a role to play in fixing the plastic problem - and your everyday actions can put pressure on businesses and governments.

Our choice of products, our support for visionary businesses and our disposal habits send important signals to both business and government. In the fight to reduce plastic waste, we can revolutionise how plastic is used and protect our marine animals.

Research shows that 8 in 10 Australians want manufacturers and retailers to be responsible for reducing, reusing and recycling their plastic packaging - and governments are listening.

Your choices are making a difference!

Steps to scrapping plastic

Shop to drop

Choose products with no or minimal plastic packaging, and remember your reusable shopping bags.

Bring your own

Bring your reusable bottles and take a reusable cup to your barista for your morning brew.

Support sustainable businesses

Help scale up innovative sustainable businesses like those that use rent/ return schemes or create non-plastic alternatives.

Choose plastic free produce

Bring your own produce bags, shop at local markets and buy seasonal produce instead of frozen and imported options.

Party for the planet

Plan your planet-friendly party and replace plastic supplies with reusable items and balloons with lanterns.

Dead bird and plastic bag floating in the ocean
Dead bird and plastic bag floating in the ocean © Shutterstock / Krzysztof Bargiel / WWF

85% of Australian seabirds are affected by plastic pollution

Out at sea, plastic is deadly. Marine animals like turtles can choke on plastic bags mistaken for jellyfish, seabirds get entangled in drifting fishing gear, and larger animals like whales can starve because their stomachs are so full of plastic debris they’ve eaten.

Microplastics can be just as fatal. Smaller creatures like plankton can ingest it, making its way up the food chain and onto our plates. Humans could be ingesting up to five grams of plastic a week. That’s the weight of a credit card!

Research is still exploring the effects of plastic on human health, but it’s clear that urgent action needs to be taken to solve this problem.

Mountain garbage in Municipal landfill for household waste
Mountain garbage in Municipal landfill for household waste © Shutterstock / kwanchai c / WWF

95% of plastic packaging is discarded after a single use

While single-use products may seem cheap and easy, they’re costly to our environment. Most plastics don't biodegrade, so unless they’re recycled, upcycled or repurposed, they can pose a significant threat to marine wildlife. Globally, more than eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year.

That’s why it’s so important that single-use plastics are phased out where possible and safely managed in cases where they’re needed. We need to ensure they don’t end up discarded in landfills, in our oceans and endangering our precious wildlife.