Greens Healthy Oceans spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, today welcomed the announcement by the European Union to ban a range of single-use plastics by 2021.
“Our oceans are choking on plastic and just this week we’ve had confirmed that microplastics are now ubiquitous within the human body.
“This is a problem of immense proportions that has been a long time coming.
“For too long, government has stepped aside and allowed the industry who profits off the proliferation of plastic to avoid taking responsibility.
“I welcome the EU taking strong action and I call on the Australian Government to follow their lead and legislate to phase out single-use plastics.
“The government’s recently announced 2025 packaging plan has worthy aims. But, without laws compelling industry to act, including mandatory product stewardship schemes, it will go the same way as the promises of the last two decades.
“During the five years of this government, the 2009 National Waste Policy, agreed to through COAG, has collected dust on the shelves.
“And over the last five years, industry has mouthed platitudes but failed to change its behaviour.
“The time for industry promises is over. The time for self-regulation is over. The time for government action is now.
“The unanimous recommendation of the Senate committee inquiry into waste and recycling was that the Australian and state and territory governments phase out petroleum-based single-use plastics by 2023.
“A good start would be a Bill to legislate for the phase-out of single-use plastics by 2023.”