Single-use plastic ban and plastic alternatives

The Queensland Government has banned the supply of a variety of single-use plastic items including:

  • straws and stirrers
  • plates, unenclosed bowls, and cutlery
  • expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food containers and EPS cups
  • cotton buds with plastic stems
  • expanded polystyrene loose packaging
  • plastic microbeads in rinseable personal care and cleaning products
  • light weight plastic shopping bags
  • the release of lighter-than-air balloons.

If you are a business and have excess stock that is now banned, apply for the Transition Support Program. This program assists businesses to use up stock and move to more sustainable options while reducing unnecessary disposal of stock to landfill.

Single-use plastic items that were banned in 2021 include: single-use straws, stirrers, plates, bowls, cutlery, and expanded polystyrene takeaway food containers and cups.

Similar bans on single-use plastic items exist or have been pledged in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory. For more information see the Queensland Government's website.

Avoid and reuse

Avoiding plastic is the highest priority for businesses and residents, followed by recycling.

Businesses can avoid single-use items, including problematic and hard-to-recycle packaging by:

  • avoiding packaging where possible
  • choose alternative packaging which is easily reusable and recyclable
  • encourage and incentivise customers to use reusables, refillable options, or dine-in to avoid packaging waste
  • if you choose to use compostable packaging, provide appropriate collection bins and recycling of this type of waste with a commercial organic waste collection service.

Residents can avoid single-use items by:

  • saying ‘no’ at the register to packaging
  • taking your own food from home
  • dine and drink in to avoid any packaging
  • take reusable cups, containers, bottles, bags, cutlery, napkins, straws when buying groceries and takeaway food and drinks
  • choose items that are package-free, refillable, with minimal packaging and recyclable packaging.

Plastic alternatives and how to dispose of them

As we move away from single-use packaging and products, a wide range of alternatives, still single-use options are available. Many of these products are labelled: biodegradable, compostable or recyclable making it confusing to know how to dispose of them.

Keep in mind even if it's not plastic, if it's still single use, try to use of reusable item instead.

Knowing the difference between materials, and which bin to put them in, will continue to support our collective efforts to reduce waste to landfill, and reduce the wrong items going in kerbside and public bins.

Biodegradable packaging

The term 'biodegradable' refers to items that decompose by bacteria or other living organisms.

Try to avoid packaging marked as 'biodegradable' where possible. If it's still single-use and goes to landfill, choose reusable instead.


Items labelled 'biodegradable' are not recyclable and must be placed in your general waste bin (red lid).​​​

Compostable packaging

Compostable packaging can be made from plant-based materials, bioplastics or eco-plastics. This type of packaging is designed to fully degrade in either a home composting or industrial composting process. For an item to be labelled compostable, it must be certified to the Australian Standard - AS4736: 2006 Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment.

Remember that compostable packaging is still single-use, so choose reusables instead.​​​​


Compostable packaging is certified to the Australian Standard for home or industrial composting and will be marked with the appropriate logo. Look for this logo before composting packaging at home or placing it in a bin that accepts compostable packaging.

You can dispose of home compostable products in your home composting bin or worm farm, or place it in a general waste bin (red lid), which goes to landfill.

For industrial compostable packaging, high temperatures are needed. You can dispose of these items through a commercial collection provider which collects and transports material to industrial and commercial-scale composting facilities, or place it in a general waste bin (red lid), which goes to landfill.

What to do with reusable products

Use the table below table to guide you on how to dispose of reusable products.

Material typeDisposal option
Wood, bamboo, and leaf products
  • Home compost bin and/or worm farm
  • General waste bin (red lid)
  • Donate to an op shop if the item is in good condition
  • Repair with Kintsugi method
  • Repurpose for mosaic art
  • General waste bin (red lid)
Reusable hard plastic
  • Donate to an op shop if the item is in good condition
  • Take to Council’s resource recovery centres for hard plastic recycling
  • General waste bin (red lid)
Paper plates and cupsRecycling bin (yellow lid)
  • Home compost bin and/or worm farm (if soiled by food)
  • Recycling bin (yellow lid)
Bioplastics (sugar cane or cornstarch)General waste bin (red lid)
Metal cutlery and camping serve ware, containers, bottles etc.
  • Donate to an op shop if the item is in good condition
  • Take to Council's resource recover centres for metal recycling take
  • General waste bin (red lid)

Making more sustainable choices

While compostable materials will eventually break down in a home or industrial composting facility, they are still a single-use product requiring resources to manufacture and transport, contributing to carbon emissions. Without a sustainable model of collection and processing, the majority of compostable items end up in landfill where they release greenhouse gas emissions.

Choose to avoid packaging by bringing your reusables.

More information

For more information on the single-use plastic ban, refer to the Queensland Government website.

Residents and businesses looking for further information can also refer to the following websites:

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Topics: waste

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