The Victorian Government is implementing a single-use plastic ban across Victoria on February 1.

Single-use plastic drinking straws and stirrers, single-use plastic cutlery, single-use plastic plates, single-use plastic cotton buds and food service items and drink containers made from expanded polystyrene will be banned.

The National Retail Association were engaged to undertake a comprehensive engagement program with Victorian retail and hospitality businesses, suppliers and manufacturers from October last year.

National Retail Association policy manager Ebony Johnson said that Victorian businesses had responded positively during their engagement program which included visiting over 3000 businesses across the state.

“We’ve engaged over 15,000 retailers, suppliers, peak bodies and other stakeholders in the past few months, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

For those still transitioning, Ms Johnson encouraged businesses to act now and access the free support services available.

“Firstly, I recommend businesses visit the Victorian Government website to download free resources and information to ensure you understand what’s included in the ban, as plastic regulations vary across states and territories,” she said.

“Businesses can also come along and ask questions at the free online information sessions we hold at 11am every Friday until the end of January or call our tollfree hotline for advice.”

Ms Johnson said the ban was a good opportunity to change business and customer behaviours.

“The best alternative is to avoid using or supplying that item by asking if it is something you need – for example, if you’re grabbing takeaway food to eat at home, you probably don’t need disposable cutlery,” she said.

“Another alternative is to use reusable items. If most of your customers dine in-store, then reusable cutlery and plates are a great option to reduce waste.

“Finally, if choosing disposables look for the most sustainable option. Alternatives made from compostable or ‘plant-based’ plastics are included in the ban as they are no better for the environment than plastic when littered.

“We encourage businesses to ask their supplier a few simple questions to ensure alternatives are compliant. For example, if it claims to be ‘plastic-free’ or ‘plant-based’, but it looks or feels like plastic, make sure you ask your supplier if it contains any plastic polymer.

Ms Johnson confirmed that coffee cups and takeaway containers are not included in the ban unless they are made from expanded polystyrene.

“We believe it’s a well-reasoned ban with alternative options widely available, and while it’s great if businesses to take proactive steps on other items, the regulations are manageable and practical for all organisations to implement now.

Ms Johnson said the ban applied to all businesses and community groups, but it was important to note that plastic straws would still be available and it will remain legal to supply to members of the community who need them due to disability or for medical need.

Ms Johnson also confirmed that, from 1 February, businesses cannot sell or supply the banned products no matter when they were purchased, and that customers should be prepared for the changes.

Ms Johnson encouraged businesses to communicate with customers, display the posters available on the website and access free advice if needed, with support services continuing after the ban comes into effect.

More information:

The NRA Policy team are specialists in retail sustainability and relevant regulations, working directly with governments, taskforces and peak bodies of all levels across Australia and New Zealand. Within just the past year, the team have engaged over 60,000 businesses across QLD, NSW, VIC, WA, ACT and NZ to help them prepare for 6 different state-based plastic bans.

Need advice? Contact the team at sustainability@a-muckertnra-net-au
NRA Source here

Theo Foukkare is available for interview on 0423 003 133
Media contact – Rhett Burnie – 0411 830 126

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