Food Packaging: Changes Under the Queensland Plastic Ban

Food Packaging Changes Under the Queensland Plastic Ban

From 1 September 2021, the Queensland Government has banned the supply of single-use plastic straws, stirrers, plates, bowls, cutlery and expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and cups throughout the state. 

The plastics ban is part of Queensland’s plan to tackle plastic pollution. While plastic products have become part of our everyday lives and have some clear benefits, they can also negatively impact our environment and wildlife, particularly when they end up in the wrong place. 

The major impact of plastics on the environment is that it takes many years for them to decompose, compared to a much shorter time for environmentally friendly alternatives. 

Food Packaging: Changes Under the Queensland Plastic Ban

“The Palaszczuk Government has a strong track record when it comes to protecting our environment and the jobs that depend on it.”

– Meaghan Scanlon, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef

While the ban is a positive move when it comes to environmental care, it has a big impact on many businesses and organisations. Those who are not eligible for an exemption to the Queensland Plastic Ban now have the task of finding suitable eco-friendly alternatives. 

When it comes to food packaging, there are plenty of non-plastic items that are better for the environment. These alternatives are made from materials such as paper, bamboo, cardboard, silicone, wood and even glass. 

Under the plastics ban, businesses and organisations can also use biodegradable plastics suitable for composting, as long as they comply with Australian Standards AS 4736-2006 or AS 5810-2010.  

Banned items

Banned single-use items under the Queensland Plastic Ban are:

  • Single use plastic straws
  • plastic stirrers and swizzle sticks
  • plastic plates
  • unenclosed plastic bowls
  • plastic forks, spoons, knives, splayds, chopsticks, and food picks
  • expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food containers
  • expanded polystyrene (EPS) cups.

Exempt businesses

The following exempt businesses are not required to use plastic-free alternatives, and can continue to use banned items. This exemption is designed to ensure that Queenslanders with disability or healthcare needs can continue to access banned items. 

  • clinics or facilities that provide care to persons with disability or healthcare needs
  • hospitals
  • dental clinics
  • medical clinics
  • pharmacies
  • aged care facilities
  • medical suppliers.

SCP Environmentally Friendly Packaging Alternatives

Some environmentally friendly packaging alternatives that businesses and organisations can use are as follows: 

Paper Straws

Paper straws are an excellent alternative to single use plastic straws, as they are biodegradable, recyclable and environmentally friendly. Specialised Cleaning Products Eco Straws are available in Plain White / Craft / Black or in a variety of colours and patterns. 

Wooden Stirrers

Made from wood, these stirring sticks are suitable for recycling and are an environmentally friendly catering option as an alternative to plastic swizzle sticks. They can be used to mix sugar or milk into hot beverages and come in various lengths: 114mm, 140mm and 190mm

Sugarcane Plates

Make your party eco-friendly with these Future Friendly 7″ or 9″ Plates.These plates are made from the naturally shredded leaves of the Sugarcane and are biodegradable, sustainable and compostable, making them an excellent alternative under the plastics ban. 

Bamboo Bowls

Serve your customers using one of the most sustainable materials available, bamboo. Bamboo’s strength and heat-resistance make it perfect for producing highly-functional bowls. Bamboo grows so fast it’s classed as a rapidly-renewable resource. These eco-friendly bowls come in 24 oz and 30 oz sizes. 

Eco-friendly utensils

CPLA Cuttlery are a great alternative to provide customers with high-quality cutlery with a low environmental impact. This strong and durable cutlery range is made from CPLA, a rapidly-renewable and sustainable alternative to regular plastic. There are also CPLA Spoons and Knives. Wooden Cuttlery are also an excellent plastic-free, recyclable alternative. 

Food Containers

Made from all natural cardboard material, these snack box takeaway containers are biodegradable and compostable. Cut-out holes located at the bottom of snack boxes allow steam to escape, which reduces condensation occurring within the package. Sustainable salad containers made from bamboo are also excellent options, available in small and large sizes

Other Packaging Items

There are many plastic-free items available as businesses become increasingly focused on caring for the environment.

Paper bags can be used as a cost-effective option for packaging food that is pre-wrapped or does not require high liquid or moisture resistance to serve and carry. You can use standard paper bags for serving takeaway pastries, sandwiches, rolls, muffins, cookies and more. They are also biodegradable and can be recycled. 

What you can do now

As a business owner/operator, first identify what items you provide your customers that are now banned, then find out what you can replace them with. There are plenty of plastic-free and biodegradable alternatives that will ensure businesses comply with the new rules, such as materials made from paper, bamboo, wood, cardboard and more. 

For more information, go to the Queensland government website