The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government is progressing to implement the next phase of its previously announced ban on single-use plastics across the ACT.

Coming into effect on 1 July 2023, the use of expanded polystyrene loose-fill packaging and trays alongside single-use plastic plates and bowls will be banned in the ACT region.

This ban also covers plastic microbeads used in rinse-off personal care and cleaning products.

These products will be added to the list of single-use plastic products that were banned in the region in 2021.

The list includes drink stirrers and plastic straws, cotton buds with plastic sticks, single‑use plastic cutlery, expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers, oxo-degradable plastics and plastic bags with less than 35 microns thickness.

ACT Government Transport and City Services minister Chris Steel said: “The ACT government undertook a 12-week consultation to inform our decision on the latest banned items, and we thank the community and industry for providing their valuable feedback on this.

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“Other types of single-use plastics were included in the list of proposed items. The consultation identified, however, that no suitable alternatives are currently available for these items.

“As a result, they have not been included in this ban but may be considered in the future as better substitutes are developed.”

In the next stage of the phase-out project, the government is planning to remove ‘heavyweight and boutique plastic bags’ from the ACT on 1 January 2024.

Steel said: “Industry also told us they need time to prepare for the ban, particularly in relation to banning additional plastic bags.

“The ACT government has listened to this and the ban on heavyweight and boutique plastic bags will not start for six months and we have also put in place other appropriate exemptions for some other items.”

The government is planning to expand their container deposit scheme to include further packaging, including spirits, wine and cordial bottles.

Steel added: “With more than 444 million containers recycled since our scheme started, including these additional items will make it even easier for Canberrans to recycle and cut waste going into landfill.”