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Huge fines for these banned items

Australian money notes. People walking in Sydney NSW.
Single-use plastic items are now banned in NSW, with major fines for businesses who break the rules. (Source: Getty)

Single-use plastic items are banned in New South Wales from today, with major fines for businesses who break the rules.

The ban applies to retail and hospitality businesses, including restaurants, cafes, bars and takeaway shops, as well as manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and wholesalers.

It includes items like plastic straws and cutlery, as well as certain hair and face products with plastic microbeads.

For customers, the ban means you will no longer receive banned plastic items when purchasing goods, including take-away food. Customers won’t be fined for using the banned items.

Individuals (such as sole traders) who are caught supplying, selling or giving away the banned plastic items could be fined $11,000, while corporations could be hit with a $55,000 fine.

Penalties are doubled for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and wholesalers.

The bans will prevent 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment over the next 20 years, according to the NSW government.

It follows the government’s ban on plastic bags from June 1 this year.

Any store providing single-use plastic bags can be fined up to $275,000.

Which items are banned?

The following items are banned in NSW from today:

  • Single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers, straws, plates and bowls

  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items - including clamshells, cups, plates and bowls

  • Single-use plastic cotton buds

  • Certain rinse-off personal-care products containing plastic microbeads, face and body cleansers, exfoliants, masks, shampoo and conditioner, and toothpaste

The ban applies to products that are sold or given away free.

An exemption applies for people who need to use single-use plastic straws due to disability or medical needs.

Other exemptions apply, including for single-use plastic bowls designed or intended to have a spill-proof lid and serving utensils such as tongs and platters.

Pre-packaged items where the plastic is integrated into the product are also exempt. For instance, straws attached to a juice box, or a bowl containing a frozen meal.

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