The New South Wales (NSW) Government has launched a public consultation on its new plan to further reduce plastic waste to minimise environmental and health risks.

The paper ‘Plastics: Next Steps’ is open for public comment until 4 February 2024. It can be accessed by public at NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website.

The EPA is seeking people’s feedback on possible actions across three key areas, including ‘reducing plastic litter’, ‘action on harmful chemicals and microplastics’ and ‘keeping pace on plastic action’.

The proposed initiatives include targeting frequently littered items as well as materials that release microplastics and products containing harmful chemical additives.

It also seeks to address some items that are proposed for regulation in other states and territories.

This feedback is expected to help the government in outlining further actions to tackle problematic and unnecessary plastics.

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According to a Coast Community News report, Member for Gosford, a city in NSW, Liesl Tesch emphasised that people use a range of plastic items, such as a plastic shopping bags, bread tags and lollipop sticks, in their day-to-day life and at home.

She added: “Takeaway food and beverage packaging are some of the most-littered plastic items, making up 32% of NSW litter stream.

“The Next Steps paper proposes to phase out supply of some items and use suitable alternatives.

“So, we are actively encouraging industry, businesses and community to get behind NSW government’s discussion paper in its bid to reduce plastic litter by 30% by 2025, as well as curb impact of microplastics and align with what’s happening across other states and territories.”

The Australian state is to implement a ban on lightweight plastic bags from 1 June. It generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually.

NSW first commenced efforts to phase out certain plastic items, including lightweight plastic bags, plastic single-use cutlery, plates, straws, among other items, in 2022.