Single-use plastics ban

Last updated: 10 August 2022
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Reducing plastic pollution is a key pillar of Victoria’s Circular Economy Plan, Recycling Victoria: A new economy. Under this plan, problematic single-use plastics will be banned across Victoria by February 2023.

Single-use plastics:

  • make up a third of the litter we see on our streets and in our waterways – they are costly to clean up and difficult to recycle
  • are often used for only a few minutes but remain in the environment for a long time
  • pollute the environment – harming wildlife and contaminating our food and water.

New regulations

From 1 February 2023, the Victorian Government is banning the sale and supply of single-use plastic:

  • drinking straws
  • cutlery (including knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, sporks, splades, food picks)
  • plates
  • drink-stirrers and sticks
  • expanded polystyrene food and drink containers
  • cotton bud sticks.

The ban will include plastic items made from conventional, degradable and compostable materials, including bioplastics.

Sustainability Victoria recommends businesses run down current stocks of the banned items in preparation for the ban, and avoid ordering any more of these items.

For information on proposed regulations including exemptions, refer to single-use plastics ban.

Resources for your business

If you are a Victorian business or organisation considering what to use instead of single-use plastics, switching to reusables is cheaper and easier than you think.

Learn how some businesses are making the change.

Success stories

Businesses like this will play a key role in the transition away from problematic single-use plastic items, with the ban presenting an exciting opportunity to implement more sustainable solutions through avoidance and reuse initiatives.

Alternatives to single-use plastics

In preparation for the Single-use plastics ban, Sustainability Victoria recommends avoiding single-use packaging where you can and choosing a reusable option instead or, if necessary, choose an alternative single-use item.

Avoiding single-use plastics is the cheapest and simplest option a business can take but for businesses where avoidance is not possible, reuse alternatives are a good option.

Reuse alternatives

The following recommendations show how businesses can transition away from single-use plastics:

  • Straws – only provide a straw on request and when requested choose a reusable straw made from bamboo, stainless steel, or silicone.
  • Cutlery – provide reusable cutlery made from stainless steel, bamboo or heavyweight plastic that is designed to be reused.
  • Plates – provide customers a dine in option with reusable plates made from ceramic or heavy weight plastic that is designed to be reused.
  • Food and drink containers – accept and encourage your customers to bring their own reusable glass, heavyweight plastic, or metal containers. Health advice supports the use of reusable items with appropriate cleaning.
  • Drink stirrers – only provide a drink stirrer on request or choose a reusable metal teaspoon or swizzle stick.
  • Cotton buds – choose cotton pads or buds with bamboo sticks.

If you cannot avoid or use reusable items, then choose non-plastic materials such as Forest Stewardship Council certified paper or wood, bamboo or recycled aluminum.

Single-use plastic straws will remain available for people who need them due to a disability or for medical reasons.

Reusable business solutions

These companies provide a variety of options to fit your business needs:

  • Returnr – offers a range of products that can be used in substitute for single-use packaging.
  • Infinity Box – offers a trash-less takeaway container solution.
  • Green Caffeen – a free reusable coffee cup system for eco-focused cafes across Australia.
  • Green My Plate – supplies reusable plates and bowls as well as wash stations and staff to events, venues and schools.

Learn more about reuse solutions at a Masterclass.

Recognition for your effort

Consumers are ready for the ban on single-use plastics and actively seek out businesses that have reduced waste. Victorian food-serving businesses taking action on plastic reduction can be listed in searchable online databases and maps.

To learn how to get your business more exposure for your reduction of single-use plastics, visit:

Queries

For questions regarding the Single-use plastics ban regulations, please contact the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

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