Starting from 1st February 2023, the Victorian Government will enforce a ban on the sale and supply of single-use plastic items such as:
- drinking straws
- cutlery (including knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, sporks, splades, food picks)
- drink-stirrers and sticks
- expanded polystyrene food service items and drink containers. This includes expanded polystyrene plates, cups, bowls, clam shells and any cover or lid that is also made from expanded polystyrene.
- cotton bud sticks.
The ban will include plastic items made from conventional, degradable and compostable materials, including bioplastics.
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.
Many single-use plastic items are difficult and economically nonviable to recycle. Often, they end up contaminating our recycling. They can be easily avoided or replaced with reusable products.
According to the Victorian government, over 1 billion single-use plastic items are used in the state every year. These items often end up in landfills or the ocean, causing harm to wildlife and the environment. By banning these items, the state hopes to encourage more sustainable practices and reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean.
The ban will apply to all food and drink businesses, including cafes, restaurants, and bars. Businesses that continue to use single-use plastic items can face fines for non-compliance.
Some of the alternative materials that businesses can use include paper, biodegradable plastic, and bamboo. These materials are not only more sustainable, but they also provide a more environmentally-friendly option for consumers.
While the ban has received support from many quarters, there are some who have been concerned about the cost implications for businesses. However, the state government has emphasised that the long-term benefits of the ban will outweigh any initial costs.
In conclusion, the ban on single-use plastic items in Victoria is a step in the right direction for a more sustainable future. It will reduce plastic waste, protect the environment and encourage more sustainable practices. We can all do our part by supporting businesses that adopt environmentally-friendly alternatives and reducing our own use of single-use plastics.
There are 5 exemptions where banned single-use plastic items can continue to be used in Victoria. These are for specific circumstances where items are required for health and safety reasons or where suitable alternatives to a sub-set of banned items are not currently available.
- Single-use plastic drinking straws for people who need them due to a disability or for medical reasons.
- Single-use plastic cotton bud sticks for testing carried out for scientific, medical, forensic or law enforcement purposes.
- Single-use plastic cutlery where required in correctional and mental health facilities to prevent physical harm or injury.
- Until 1 November 2024 paper or cardboard plates lined with plastic.
- Until 1 January 2026 any single-use plastic item that is integrated into food or drink packaging (e.g., a single-use plastic spoon included in a yogurt tub).
We can all look for ways to use our own reusable items when enjoying take away meals and drinks. What about bringing your own Coffee Cups, Reusable Cutlery Set and where possible taking their own containers when shopping in supermarkets, markets and food stores. (You can find our own range of items here on the site).
You can keep up to date on sustainability issues in Victoria by visiting the site sustainability.vic.gov.au