WMRR welcomes WA’s action on plastics

9 November 2020

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) congratulates the WA Government for committing to taking action against single-use plastics, welcoming the state’s Plan for Plastics released on the weekend.

The plan will initially phase out single-use plastic items such as cutlery, plates, stirrers, straws, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers and helium balloons over the next three (3) years, with a phase-out of other items to follow.

“WMRR commends Government for listening to stakeholders’ feedback and supports the short-term actions within the plan to develop new plastics regulations that will phase-out a range of single-use items by 2023. WA has a proud history of addressing plastics, with Plastics Free July originating there, and it is great to now see that it has joined other Australian jurisdictions in their efforts to manage what remains a challenging issue – the consumption and disposal of single-use plastics,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

“We acknowledge that there is much to be done over the next three (3) years, including the development of regulations, a targeted education campaign and behaviour change program, and in the medium term, actions that will further drive WA’s aspirations to become a plastic-free leader in the nation. WMRR looks forward to continued engagement with the Department throughout this journey.”

There are also a number of complementary actions proposed in the plan, such as encouraging ‘innovative actions to reduce plastic packaging’ in order to achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

“WMRR has long-held concerns that the co-regulatory approach to packaging is both limited and ineffective and will not allow Australia to achieve these 2025 goals. We continue to advocate for a mandatory extended producer responsibility scheme for packaging to ensure that these materials are designed for re-use and made from recycled content. WA stands the greatest chance at phasing out single-use packaging and becoming a leader in this space if it adopts a strong product stewardship model,” Ms Sloan said.

“WMRR also looks forward to engaging with government on ways it can drive sustainable procurement across all levels of government and their agencies, to develop specifications that comprise recycled content, including in sustainable packaging.

“It is an exciting time for WA, first with the roll-out of the Containers for Change program and now with the plan to tackle the state’s single-use plastics. WMRR congratulates all stakeholders for their commitment and efforts in rolling out these initiatives that will no doubt drive long-term sustainable outcomes,” Ms Sloan concluded.