9 Oct 2019


Australia’s two most populous states – New South Wales and Victoria – are at the bottom of Australia’s first single-use plastics scorecard, with South Australia placing first.

The scorecard, produced by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia, rates the performance of states and territories in tackling single-use plastics.

Victoria came last with its only green tick a ban on plastic bags to take effect in November this year. It is the only state without a container deposit scheme and at this stage has no plans to consider one.

NSW was second last, nudging ahead of the garden state because of its container deposit scheme which collected more than two billion bottles and cans in its first 19 months of existence.

NSW also restricts the release of gas-inflated balloons to up to 20 at the same time (wildlife experts say no balloons should be released because they kill birds and animals that mistake them for food).

WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager, Katinka Day said there was definitely room for improvement in the plastics policies of Australia’s two most populous states.

“NSW and Victoria consider themselves to be Australia’s leading states, but on plastic they’re definitely not fantastic,” Ms Day said.

“Congratulations SA, you lead the way. South Australia tops the plastics scorecard with a container deposit scheme which has recycled plastic for more than 40 years, a ban on plastic bags since 2009, and a ban on plastic straws and utensils announced in July.”

South Australia is also considering a ban on takeaway plastic containers and cups and plastic lids including coffee cup lids.

The Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia tie for second with container deposit schemes, bans on plastic bags, and both states are considering bans on a range of other single-use plastics.

Next are Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. They too have container deposit schemes and bans on plastic bags but don’t score highly when it comes to phasing out other single-use plastics.

Ms Day said WWF-Australia hopes the scorecard sparks discussion on the steps needed to reduce the plastic choking the environment and killing wildlife.

“We’re encouraging people to use the scorecard to tell their local politicians they want stronger policy on plastic,” she said.

“Let's work together to phase out the 10 worst single-use plastics and fix this urgent waste crisis now.”

Ms Day said Australia was also lagging behind the rest of the world in its policies on single-use plastics, with Canada, Europe and Rwanda leading the way in a global comparison.

“In Australia we’re seeing some action at a state level, but there are currently no nationwide bans or proposed bans in place,” she said.

“A staggering 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans each year and plastic dumped in one region can travel and impact others. This is a global disaster that requires collective action.”