Up to 7,000 euros fine for offering plastic straws in Australia
The regional government of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, has expanded ban on single-use plasticssuch as plastic plates, straws and cutlery with fines of up to 11,000 Australian dollars (7,140 euros) for small traders who supply these items.
The measure, which came into force from November 1, follows the light bag ban applied from June 1, which fines up to 275,000 Australian dollars (176,000 dollars or 178,000 euros) to businesses that continue to provide these items. .
“Plastic packaging and so-called single-use plastic items they account for 60% of all rubbish in New South Wales“, whose capital is Sydney and home to 8.1 million inhabitants -around 32% of the entire population of the country-, the regional Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) points out on its website.
The ban includes objects such as plastic straws, single-use cutlery, plates and cups, as well as polystyrene containers for food, plastic swabs for cleaning ears and shampoos and cosmetic products that contain microplastics.
The EPA will impose fines on small businesses or other individuals who supply these prohibited items of 11,000 Australian dollars (7,140 euros), while companies the amount amounts to at least 55,000 Australian dollars (35,690 euros).
Although the EPA has not detailed how the sanctions work, a spokesperson told the 7News portal that fines of up to 1,100 Australian dollars (714 euros) will be imposed at the time for the offender and the amount could be raised up to A$11,000 if the seller supplying them is prosecuted.
For the large companies that produce or distribute the prohibited products, the courts could impose a penalty of up to double 55,000 Australian dollars, depending on the circumstances. These bans are part of the government’s plan to eliminate “unnecessary and problematic” plastic products by 2025.
The state of South Australia has already banned single-use plastics since March this year, while other jurisdictions such as Victoria intend to apply a similar policy from February 2023.
The current Labor government, which won the elections in May, has given a turn in conservation and has promised to take more ambitious steps in policies against the climate crisis, in the face of the immobility of the previous conservative executive.
The Plastic Waste Management Index, published by the environmental NGO Back to Blue, places Australia seventh out of 25 nations for its overall efforts to control plastic pollution, behind European countries, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. USA Australia ranked first for “Promoting the safe and informed use of plastic“, but ranked 16th for “efficient collection and sorting channels,” according to the report published in October last year.
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