The Hobart City Council has voted in favour of implementing a city-wide ban on single-use plastics, which will make the Tasmanian capital the first major Australian city to do so.
Council members voted 8-4 in favour of the ban last night, but the city will allow for a period of public and legislative consultation before enacting the by-law either by later 2019 or early 2020 at the latest.
The ban will rid the city of single-use plastics, specifically targeting businesses that sell takeaway food. This means plastic straws, containers, cutlery, coffee cups, and drink cup lids will all be outlawed in the Tasmanian capital. Businesses operating within city council limits will instead be forced to transition to recyclable or reusable materials, such as cardboard containers, paper straws, or wooden forks and knives.
Hobart City Councillor Bill Harvey asserted the vote showed the city is “serious about leading by example” and that “we’ve set a precedent that now hopefully many other councils will follow.”
The new law is not without controversy, however, with industry advocates in the state asserting the ban was pushed through the council without consultation from small business owners, many of who are concerned their businesses will not be able to withstand the added financial pressure.
Nonetheless, councillors who voted in favour of the ban have moved quickly, passing the legislation onto State Government officials and urging them to take the ban statewide.
Anti-plastic advocates in Launceston, in the state’s north, are pushing for the city to follow Hobart’s example.
Tasmania issued a statewide ban on plastic bags in 2013.