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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 29 November 2018) . . Page.. 5057 ..

recycled. Nevertheless, we have a responsibility to avoid waste in the first place, and this is not the government’s problem alone; it is a shared responsibility we all have as a community. The ACT government is exploring ways to reduce, re-use and recycle all types of waste as well as plastic.

On 20 September 2018 the office of the commissioner for sustainability and the environment published an independent review of the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010. While the review indicates the act has been successful in achieving its objective, the reality is that plastic bag consumption and disposal is increasing due to growth in Canberra’s population and household consumption. The review focused on the efficacy of the act itself and made four recommendations: introduce a mandatory plastic bag disclosure scheme; introduce minimum plastic bag pricing; improve the government’s governance on plastic bag regulation; and research synergies for compostable plastic and the proposed household organic collection scheme. These require careful assessment.

We need to consider plastic bags in the broader context and also what is emerging in Australian and international policy with regard to plastics. It is an opportunity for us to investigate how we can reduce all single-use plastic throughout the ACT more systemically beyond the ban of plastic shopping bags. The draft 2018 national waste policy which has recently been out for public consultation includes national targets on packaging, including single-use plastics. This policy is likely to be considered at the upcoming meeting of environment ministers in December.

The recent Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications inquiry into waste and recycling in Australia has called on all government ministers to commit to phasing out single-use plastic beyond plastic bags. It has asked for the phase out to also include takeaway containers, plastic-lined coffee cups and chip packets by 2023. In a separate but related process the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation has announced national packaging targets that include the phase out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025. Achieving these targets will require cooperation from all levels of government, businesses, and the community.

To that end, the ACT government has a role to play in supporting markets for recycled plastic. There is still a genuine need for purposeful plastic; it is what we do with the plastic that we need to consider. I recently announced that the territory is committed to trialling a new recycled product called Plastiphalt in the 2018-19 road resurfacing program. It utilises recovered glass, used printer toner cartridges and recycled asphalt.

Work is also being undertaken to reduce single-use plastics via education programs offered from EPSDD’s Actsmart programs. EPSDD’s Actsmart schools program encourages students to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in their lunch boxes by promoting waste-free lunches. The ACT government, through the straws suck campaign, is also encouraging businesses and the community to rethink their need for the use of single-use plastic straws.

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