This week the Hobart City Council voted in favour of banning single use plastics by 2020.
While there has been a notiecable decline in the use of plastic straws in particular across many capital cities, Hobart is in the first in Australia to actually pass a by-law.
Councillors voted on the issue on Monday night with an 8-4 result in favour of the ban. However, a 21-day public consultation will need to have a positive result first.
The ban will prohibit the use of plastic straws, cups, lids and containers. Local businesses will need to start phasing these products out and replacing them with either reusable or compost-friendly alternatives.
However, concerns have been raised around potential cost increases for small businesses. Speaking to the ABC, the CEO of the Tasmanian Small Business Council, Robert Mallett, stated that it would be better if this was a state government initiative.
“I don’t think it will be too difficult to transition but it would definitely be more costly which then puts Hobart businesses at a price disadvantage against some of their neighbours at Kingborough, Glenorchy or Clarence.”
While sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics will most likely be absorbed into menu pricing, it would be great to see environmentally friendly packaging subsidized across Tassie (and every state, really) to encourage businesses to switch, even before it becomes legislation. But that’s probably just wishful thinking.