Australian state bans plastic drinking straws and stirrers

An Australian state has become the first in the country to ban some single-used plastic items including drinking straws, stir sticks and cutlery

The new law bans the sale, supply and distribution of a range of single-use items in South Australia, Environment Minister David Speirs said.

More items will be added to the banned list early next year including polystyrene cups, bowls and plates.

Queensland state will introduce a similar ban in September while the Australian Capital Territory will begin phasing out some of the same items from July.

Speirs said manufacturers of alternative items had set up in South Australia and were ready to supply other states as the bans spread across Australia.

“Consumers have been demanding this and the market has been driving alternatives, really creating jobs in the manufacturing of alternatives,” Speirs told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Plastic straws are still available to people who need them for medical reasons or because of a disability. People can also use their own plastic straws.

England banned single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in October last year and Canada plans to introduce similar bans by the end of year.

All Australian states and mainland territories except for New South Wales, the most populous, have now banned single-use plastic shopping bags.

In 2019, 170 nations pledged to “significantly reduce” their use of plastic by 2030.