Minimise single-use items

Last updated: 20 September 2022

What are single-use items?

Single-use items or disposable items are products and packaging that we throw out after only one use. These items are used for only minutes but their impact on our environment can last thousands of years.

Even when these items are recyclable, we use up energy and our environment’s natural resources to produce these easily-avoidable items.

Avoid first

What’s better than reusing or recycling an item? Avoiding it in the first place.

Ask yourself, do you really need it? And if the answer is no, then avoid it.

Single-use plastics ban

Victoria will be phasing out problematic single-use plastics.

The ban includes:

  • cotton buds
  • cutlery
  • drink stirrers
  • food containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene
  • plates
  • straws.

These single-use items often end up in our environment, harming wildlife, waterways and oceans.

The ban will come into effect by February 2023. Government departments will lead the way by phasing out items by February 2022.

Read about the single-use plastics ban

Alternatives to these items are already available for you to use.


Balloons often end up in our waterways and have become one of the most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife.
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Disposable coffee cups

Australians consume more than 50,000 cups of coffee every half hour and, for now at least, the disposable cups can't be recycled.
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Disposable dinnerware

After being used for only a few minutes, disposable dinnerware ends up in landfill or worse, as litter on our streets or in our parks.
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Disposable masks

Eco-friendly alternatives to disposable face masks.
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Junk mail

Junk mail accounts for 6% of Australia’s total paper usage. That adds up to 240,000 tonnes of paper every single year.
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Plastic bags

Australians use around 10 million plastic bags every day, but even though soft plastics can now be recycled, only 3% of those bags are being recycled. Switch to reusable bags to reduce the number of plastics sent to landfill.
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Plastic cotton buds

Plastic cotton buds are one of the most problematic litter items found on beaches across the world.
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Plastic straws

Plastic straws are one of the most common items found on beaches all over the world. If you really need a straw, there are great sustainable alternatives available.
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Plastic water bottles

Australians buy almost 15 billion plastic bottles every year and most of these end up in landfill or in our waterways.
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Polystyrene food containers and cups

Disposable food containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene can’t be readily recycled and, after only a few minutes’ use, will end up piling up in landfills.
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Other single-use items