Victoria must ban more than plastic bags to effectively tackle waste crisis


After years of campaigning by the Victorian Greens, the Labor Government has finally placed a ban on single-use plastic bags.

This legislation was first announced during the Northcote by-election and on the eve of the Victorian Greens’ Bill for Plastic Free Seas (which included a plastic bag ban) being debated in parliament.

The Greens have called the move a positive first step towards clearing our streams and seas of harmful plastics, but said much more needs to be done to adequately tackle the state’s waste crisis.

The Victorian Greens will today introduce an amendment to the Government’s Environment Protection Amendment Bill 2019 that will extend the ban to other single-use plastics like straws, stirrers, cutlery and cotton tips, as well as polystyrene take away containers and cups.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC said the damage wrought by plastics to our environment was far broader than just single-use plastic bags and that it was time for the Government to aim higher.

To adequately tackle the state’s waste crisis the Government must ban all single-use plastics, introduce a container refund scheme, invest in the industry, and overhaul our kerbside bin collections as a start.

Without these our waterways will continue to be polluted with dirty and unmanaged waste and our sea creatures will continue to suffer and be killed by plastics.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“The Greens have brought legislation to parliament calling for a ban on single-use plastics before, so we’re glad to see these bags finally getting the boot.

“A good government would show real leadership by banning the many other unnecessary single-use plastics that are discarded on a daily basis and ultimately found in our streams and waterways.

“Our natural environment won’t clean itself. Without proper leadership on this issue we’ll see increased levels of stockpiling and plastic pollution. We need to break free from plastic.

“The Government needs to stop burying its head in waste. We need a broader ban on single-use plastics and the immediate introduction of a container refund scheme.”

Quotes attributable to Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:

“It’s pleasing to see another step taken towards ridding the world of plastic bags and cleaning up our oceans.

“It’s thanks to the hard work of the Victorian Greens that this has happened. The sort of action taken today by the Victorian Parliament needs to be replicated in the federal parliament.

“We need a nationally co-ordinated approach to problematic plastics to tackle marine plastic pollution.

“We also need a nationally co-ordinated approach to product stewardship to improve the quality of recycling and create a circular economy.”