Australia: NSW moves to cut single-use plastics by 2025

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Single-use plastic bags will be phased out along with stirrers and cotton buds. (ABC News: Kathryn Diss) © Provided by ABC News Single-use plastic bags will be phased out along with stirrers and cotton buds. (ABC News: Kathryn Diss)

The NSW Government is set to unveil ambitious plans to drastically cut the amount of plastic and food scraps that end up in landfill by 2025.

Straws, stirrers, cotton buds and polystyrene cups will be phased out 12 months after legislation is passed, with a review on plastic cups, heavy bags and fruit stickers to be carried out within three years.

A rollout of green plastic bins and an education program on disposing food and organic waste will also be funded as part of the $365 million, five-year strategy.

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Conservation groups have welcomed the plan to ban single-use plastics.

The Environment Minister Matt Kean said they will be phased out over the next year.

He said the changes were necessary because the current trend would see more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

The changes will stop an estimated 2.7 billion items from ending up in the environment and oceans over the next 20 years.

Shane Cucow from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said NSW was the only state without a ban on plastic bags.

"As the state with the largest plastic footprint, today's commitments mean a massive reduction in the flow of plastics into Australia's oceans. Every day we are waiting, we are seeing more animals die from plastic pollution."

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The laws are expected to pass State Parliament by the end of the year.

Apart from working closely with local councils, the government will support small businesses during the transition to new products.

Shadow NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said the state was finally catching up with other states in banning single-use plastics.

Ms Sharpe said business in NSW had already moved to phase out single-use plastics.

"The announcement is important. They need to work through the detail, it's been too slow in coming, but it’s a good thing for the environment that we are moving on single-use plastics. [Business] all over the state have already started to do this without government,  government finally caught up."

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