The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is to implement a ban on lightweight plastic bags from 1 June.

The state government approved its Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 in November last year, followed by the introduction of the Plastics Action Plan.

The ban on lightweight plastic bags is part of NSW’s wider plan to eliminate single-use plastic items and packaging, which currently account for 60% of all litter in the state.

Over the next 20 years, NSW will be able to remove nearly 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from polluting the environment through this initiative.

Later this year, the state will extend the ban to several other plastic items, including single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, cotton buds, expanded polystyrene food ware and cups, as well as rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads.

NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said: “The lightweight plastic bag ban is the first of many plastic items being banned in New South Wales this year.

“I think all of us can see the impact plastic pollution is having on our environment, which is why we’re making major changes in New South Wales this year.

“The ban on lightweight single-use bags comes into place from 1 June, and then from November, we’re banning more problematic plastics, such as cutlery and plates.

“Single-use plastic is used by many of us for just a few convenient minutes, but it remains in our environment for many years, eventually breaking into microplastics.

“We each have the power to make positive environmental change at an individual level, and I encourage everyone to choose to go plastic-free as often as they can.”

In March this year, the Australian Government invested A$1.1m ($826,430) to support the development of ‘infinite’ plastic recycling technology.