South Australia will be the first state to ban single-use plastics, if new laws proposed by the Liberal government are passed by state parliament next year.

Under the legislation, businesses would be required to phase out single-use plastic straws, plastic cutlery and plastic stirrers. A ban on items such as takeaway polystyrene containers and cups would then follow.

Premier Steven Marshall announced the news on Facebook on Saturday. “We recognise that you can’t just ban everything straight away,” he said in a follow-up post. “There would be impacts to businesses and the community. That’s why we will continue to consult, collaborate and inform the community about how we can achieve our goals together. We’re proud to be leading the way in taking action on single-use plastics.”

Marshall said in the same post that takeaway coffee cups and heavy-weight plastic bags (SA banned light-weight plastic bags in 2009) could also be in the firing line, once a period of further consultation has taken place.

The decision on single-use plastics comes after a six week consultation period earlier this year, in which nearly 97 per cent of more than 3500 respondents “called for swift action,” Marshall said.

Draft legislation will be released for further public consultation later this year, before the laws are introduced to state parliament in 2020. The bans would then kick in later that year. In the meantime, a pilot program will establish voluntary “plastic-free precincts” and help inform the new legislation.

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