Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has today reiterated his support for more policy action on recycling plastic waste materials in New South Wales.

Mr Ward’s comments follow the release of the latest NSW Parliamentary Research Service – Research Paper 14: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​‘Single-use plastic product bans in Australia’ which also examines in comprehensive detail the policy approaches of various jurisdictions.

“By 2050 there may be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans. Plastic has become so widespread that we are constantly eating, drinking and breathing it in.

“NSW alone generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year and only 12% of it is recycled.

“We can and must do better than this.

“In NSW, a number of ​bans, including on lightweight bags, straws and cutlery, were introduced by the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 under the 2021 NS​W Plastics Action Plan. Further bans were proposed by the NSW Government in October 2023, including on take-aw​ay cups, plastic cigarette filters and heavyweight plastic bags.

“I welcome the NSW Government’s ‘NSW Plastics: Next Steps’ report which was released in October 2023 and the next policy steps needed to improve our State’s environmental report card.

“As a conservationist, I also believe that all sides of politics must continue to work together in a collaborative spirit to ensure a circular economy which provides for more efficient recycling and re-use initiatives when it comes to plastic waste.

“In government, I stood up to my own side of politics when it came to opposing coal seam gas projects in water catchment areas – because it was the right thing to do for our region and for our local environment!

“We do not want plastic ending up in our rivers, beaches, oceans or water catchment areas or impacting upon or endangering any of our native marine wildlife – therefore we must implement the legislative and policy actions necessary to increase and improve our environmental scope and policy response when it comes to plastic waste. 

“I stand ready to work with all levels of government to improve the Plastics Action Plan and to improve our State’s policy response on plastic waste,” Mr Ward concluded.