Single-use plastics could be banned in Queensland as early as next year after the Palaszczuk Government announced a proposed plan to "tackle pollution".
The plan will also look at ways for plastic to be recovered, reused and recycledEnvironment Minister Leanne Enoch said the scope of the strategy was an "Australian first"Extensive consultation will take place with the community
The new plan would see plastic straws, cutlery and plates scrapped under new legislation to be introduced next year.
The State Government would also consider extending the ban "down the track" to include coffee cups, plastic cups and heavyweight shopping bags.
Whether it is retailers or suppliers, some businesses are already making the transformation.
Mick Krause decided to get out of plastics in June last year at his food-packaging business north of Brisbane as sales dropped.
He used to sell 2,500 cartons, or 12.5 million straws, a month.
Within a matter of three months, that dropped to 500 cartons.
One entire wall of his North Lakes warehouse is lined floor-to-ceiling with about $140,000 worth of stock he is struggling to sell.
"We've never seen the change happen and transition so quickly in a very short space of time," he said.
"It's all market driven."
Mr Krause now imports eco-friendlier products made from paper, bamboo, palm leaf or corn starch.
But he said infrastructure — to complete the waste cycle — is lacking.
For example, straws made from corn starch need to be industrially composted through heating.
"Unfortunately there's only about 10 locations in Australia at the moment that can actually process those type of straws," he said.
"Whether we blame the Government or not, the infrastructure is just not there at the moment."
The Queensland Government said its plan would also look at finding new ways for plastic to be recovered, reused and recycled.
National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said business welcomed the move, which she said consumers have been calling for "for some time".
"But obviously from an industry-wide perspective, consultation is going to be the key, because you can't just simply pull those products, as we know, from stores because it causes a lot of consumer angst."
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said the LNP backed "action to cut down on plastics and grass roots environmentalism" but wanted to see the details of the proposal.
"The LNP led the way in calling for the plastic bags ban and the container deposit scheme, which the government then followed," Mr Mander said.
'A great move forward'
Toby Hutcheon, from recycling advocacy group Boomerang Alliance Queensland, said the ban would cover takeaway items that are second only to cigarette butts as a source of litter.
"The most recent Clean Up Australia rubbish report reported that those items represented 36 per cent of all litter in Queensland," he said.
"So acting to ban these is a great move forward in terms of reducing both litter and reducing waste."
Mr Hutcheon said a voluntary ban among Noosa businesses in the last 18 months alone had "removed over 3 million plastic items from use [including] over a million plastic straws, 750,000 containers and 250,000 coffee cups".
Shane Cucow from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said the proposed ban was "especially good news for Queensland's beautiful beaches and seas".
"To save turtles and seabirds from choking on the plastic flowing into our oceans, we must stop it at the source," he said.
WWF's Katinka Day said Queensland's move sent a message to other states ahead of a national meeting of environment ministers on Friday.
"It's really disappointing to see New South Wales and Victoria not take action on some of the most problematic single-use plastics," she said.
"Victoria is the only state to not have a container deposit scheme and New South Wales is the only state not to have a ban on single-use plastic bags.
"So we're really hoping that Queensland's move today puts pressure on the rest of Australia to take action on plastics."
Thursday's announcement comes after South Australia committed to banning single-use plastics next year.