Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government has accelerated its ongoing efforts to reduce its plastic waste by at least 30% by 2025.

The government has launched an official consultation, inviting the public’s input and feedback on how to reduce the environmental and human health risks caused by approximately 800,000 tonnes (t) of plastic waste, which is said to be produced annually in NSW.

The NSW government is further soliciting the feedback of state businesses and industry partners for its ‘NSW Plastics: Next Steps’ paper.

The paper aims to identify and address various materials such as frequently littered or released microplastics and particular items containing harmful chemical additives.

It also covers single-use plastic items that are either already banned or proposed to be banned in other Australian states and territories, including lollipop sticks, bread tags, cigarette butts, and heavyweight plastic shopping bags.

The state government may redesign or phase out all these plastic items depending on feedback for the paper.

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NSW environment minister Penny Sharpe said: “By 2050 there may be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans. NSW alone generates 800,000t of plastic waste each year and only 12% of it is recycled.

“We must act. By working together, we can make a real difference and leave the environment in a better state for our children.

“The NSW government wants to hear your thoughts on what plastic items we should target to minimise harmful impacts on the NSW environment, animals and communities.”

Starting from 29 October 2023, the consultation is scheduled to run for 14 weeks until 4 February 2024.

In a separate development, the NSW’s Byron Shire Council has drafted a new ‘Single-use Packaging and Materials Policy‘ to withdraw single-use from its operations and facilities, as well as from other open spaces the council manages.

Currently on public exhibition until 28 November, the draft policy wishes to phase out various single-use items, including balloons, glitter, and confetti.