New South Wales (NSW), Australia, will ban single-use plastics to cut down on waste, including straws, plastic spoons and forks, and shampoo microbeads. Beginning in September 2023, Queensland will also ban a number of these items, including heavyweight plastic shopping bags. Victoria will take action and prohibit “problematic single-use plastics from sale or supply” as of February 1, 2023. Australia still has a long way to go in its efforts to tackle its plastic waste problem, despite the impressive rate of law changes. Shane Cucow, the plastics campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, says that Australia’s plastic packaging recycling rate is still just 16%, whereas the national target is 70%. In a study of the management of plastic trash among 25 nations, Australia came in seventh for its overall efforts to cut down on plastic waste.

James Griffin, the environment minister for NSW, asserted that the restrictions in his state will “prevent 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment over the next 20 years.” NSW banned thin plastic bags in June and, as of November 1, this year, prohibited expanded polystyrene take-out food containers, single-use plastic drink stirrers, cotton buds, and other products. In the same month, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) made a positive announcement, indicating a 29% decrease in coastal plastic pollution since 2013.