29 Oct 2023


New South Wales could jump towards the top of WWF-Australia’s plastics scorecard with the launch of an ambitious proposal to ban more harmful plastic products and chemicals, including heavyweight shopping bags, microplastics in cleaning products, and balloon releases.

The NSW Government is seeking public feedback on its proposal to ban or enforce new design standards on a range of plastic products and materials. 

Items being considered include single-use plastic dinnerware and food containers, heavyweight shopping bags, produce bags, cigarette filters, single-serve condiments, helium-filled balloons, plastic ice-cream and lollipop sticks, and party poppers.

“It is great to see NSW considering action on so many unnecessary and problematic plastics,” said Kate Noble, WWF-Australia’s No Plastic in Nature Policy Manager.

“As Australia’s most heavily populated state, NSW’s action on plastics really matters."

“This plan has the potential to stop some of the most damaging single-use plastics from entering our beautiful beaches and waterways."

“It also contains a raft of other initiatives that could be real game changers. The proposal to eliminate harmful chemical additives and plastic cigarette filters - one of the most polluting products globally - is particularly exciting.”

Today’s announcement sees NSW edge ahead of Victoria to claim outright fifth place on WWF-Australia’s plastics scorecard, which rates the performance of states and territories in tackling single-use plastics.

If the public consultation leads to a commitment to ban items like heavyweight shopping bags and produce bags then NSW could jump into second place next year.

The 2023 scorecard released today has Western Australia in the top spot again with a near perfect score thanks to its ban on single-use plastic bowls, plates and cutlery, coffee cups and lids, straws, and takeaway food containers.


There’s little separating South Australia, Queensland and the ACT, which have demonstrated significant leadership and are all rolling out ambitious plastic plans that include product bans, but also non-regulatory measures to reduce plastic consumption and increase reuse and recycling. 

NSW came in fifth place this year and Victoria is ranked sixth, while the Northern Territory and Tasmania are still catching up in seventh and eighth place as they finalise their planned bans for 2024/25.

Every state has made significant progress since the release of WWF’s first scorecard in 2019, which had NSW and Victoria at the bottom of the ladder.

In addition to single-use plastic bans, most states and territories are also rolling out programs to support communities and individuals to reuse and reduce our reliance on single-use items in general.

“In just five years we’ve seen a huge shift across Australia on single-use plastics, and a lot of that is due to the efforts of individuals, communities, schools, and businesses,” said Ms Noble.

“They’ve called on governments to take action and our politicians have listened."

“This is a big win for people and nature, including seabirds and marine mammals who will encounter less deadly plastic in their environments."

“If we’re going to Regenerate Nature by 2030, then we need to shift to a circular economy where plastic is kept in use, and out of the environment."

“We’re making real progress towards this goal, but there’s more work to be done.”

People can see how their state or territory is performing in the plastic scorecard and learn more about the problem of plastic pollution here: https://wwf.org.au/get-involved/plastic-pollution/