On Monday 9 March 2020, the Hobart City Council resolved to enact the by-law banning the provision of single-use plastic takeaway food packaging and related items(PDF, 2MB).
Enforcement of the by-law will commence in 2021, following a period of trader and community education and awareness.
It is anticipated that the introduction of the by-law will result in a 600 tonne annual reduction in single-use plastics to landfill.
The Council also resolved to lobby the Tasmanian Government to consider implementing a state wide initiative to reduce single-use plastics.
The by-law aims to restrict the use of single use plastic takeaway packaging. This is not an expansion on the statewide plastic bag-ban legislation, but a wholesale change aimed at achieving a reduction in usage of and a shift away from single use plastics.
There is considerable public momentum for the reduction in availability of plastic products to reduce environmental impact. The City maintains a significant litter collection network including hundreds of stormwater litter traps and socks. These traps are already extremely effective in preventing marine pollution in general.
Takeaway packaging is a major contributor to the litter stream in Tasmania. Data from the Environmental Protection Authority Tasmania indicates that up to 50% of the litter stream is comprised of paper and plastic takeaway rubbish.
The Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index, which in 2015/2016 primarily focused on suburban areas of Hobart provides some insight into the composition of this litter. That year it found that approximately 16 per cent of the litter items audited were plastic, but only 2.4 per cent were plastic spoons/cutlery, straws, and plastic takeaway container and cups. Keep Australia Beautiful’s 2016/2017 litter count also found that the amount of litter in Tasmania increased by 6 per cent compared to the previous year.
Compostable packaging is not considered to be a complete solution to litter. Only some of the compostable takeaway packaging currently on the market breaks down quickly in the environment. Solutions to litter lie in effective campaigns that lead to behavioural change which emphasise an overall reduction in packaging distribution and consumption, increased use of reusable packaging and as a final choice, utilising certified compostable packaging.
The City has an exemplary record of showing leadership in the field of waste management and recycling and has set an ambitious overall goal towards zero waste to landfill by 2030 consistent with the City's waste strategy.
An information fact-sheet on the by-law may be viewed here(PDF, 204KB).
Check out What's in and What's out(PDF, 1MB) for single-use plastics.
Additional information for businesses
The by-law only applies to businesses that provide or sell food in packaging that can be taken from the premises and consumed.
- The by-law will encourage retailers to replace current single use plastic containers which are smaller than one litre (1L) in volume or an area equivalent to A4 (210 mm by 297 mm) in size.
- All packaging larger than these dimensions is excluded.
- The by-law does not apply where a retailer provides or sells food packaging supplied by the customer (e.g. coffee cups or Tupperware containers); or the customer was not provided food packaging by the retailer (e.g. a bottle of soft drink).
Our research indicates that a third of Hobart's approximately 300 food and beverage businesses already supply some form of compostable packaging.
Implementation of this by-law will be staged in order to maximise business engagement and understanding and strongly root the culture change required to make the by-law effective.
Businesses will have up to a year after the enactment of the by-law to comply with new packaging requirements.
Hard copy information packs or ‘toolkits’ will be provided to all Hobart food businesses – inclusive of replacement product lists. Additionally, educational information sessions for proprietors will be held and one-on-one advice will be available.
Didn't see an answer to your question?
Questions related to compostable packaging and waste reduction strategies may be directed to the Cleansing and Solid Waste Policy Coordinator on 03 6238 2711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information and questions about the by-law may be directed to the Manager Environmental Health on 03 6238 2711 or email@example.com.