World Consumer Rights Day (15 March 2021) ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution’

Plastic pollution on beach

Most plastics are made to be used once before being discarded and consumer awareness of the plastics crisis is growing around the world. On average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year and up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean. The good news is every state and territory in Australia has now put in place, or announced, a ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags. In regard to single use plastics (including straws and cutlery),  South Australia leads the way on banning these from March 2021, Queensland after July 2021 and Victoria by Feb 2023.

World Consumer Rights Day is an annual occasion dedicated to highlighting the power of consumers and their rights to a marketplace which is fair, safe and sustainable. This year’s theme Tackling plastic pollution highlights our unsustainable consumption and production of plastics, especially single-use plastic. Consumers International have created the 7 Rs Model of Waste Management (replace, rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair), to show you various ways to combat this issue.

In Australia, 75 per cent of the rubbish along our coastlines is plastic. Research also shows the majority of plastic pollution from our oceans ends up back on land, where it becomes trapped along our beaches. Find out more about how CSIRO are ending plastic waste and tackling the greatest plastic pollution challenges through innovative science and technologyAustralia’s waste challenges can’t be solved in just one day, find out about the Government’s National Plastics Plan 2021 which identifies that Australia uses around 70 billion pieces of soft “scrunchable” plastics including food wrappers each year.

The Australian Packaging Covenant sets out how governments and businesses across Australia share the responsibility for managing the environmental impacts of packaging read more here. Lodge a packaging complaint on a consumer product (of an APCO Member) purchased in Australia here. Learn more about your consumer rights about environmental claims on the ACCC website.

As part of the CFA Standards Project, a CFA representative participates on the Standards Australia Technical Committee on Environmental Management contributing to the development of ISO standards on environmental management, circular economy, environmental labelling, greenhouse gas measurement, and carbon neutrality. Find out how to get involved here or contact