Regional business owners in Victoria will have access to free, in-person advice about the Victorian Government’s single-use plastics ban, when experts from the National Retail Association visit over 3000 retailers between October and December.
Problematic single-use plastics will be banned from sale or supply in Victoria from 1 February 2023.
The ban applies to single-use plastic drinking straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, and cotton bud sticks made from conventional, degradable, and compostable materials. The ban also applies to food service items and drink containers made from expanded polystyrene.
People who need single-use plastic drinking straws due to a disability or for a medical need can still purchase and use these items.
The ban includes compostable plastic alternatives as these items can still harm wildlife and require specialised processing to break down.
The National Retail Association has been engaged by the Victorian State Government to provide advice and resources to businesses, including a dedicated team to visit retailers and hospitality businesses, hosting a toll-free hotline, and holding information sessions every Friday at 11 a.m. AEDT from 14 October.
NRA Director of Policy, David Stout said that the ban will be quite similar to bans in NSW, QLD, and the ACT to create less confusion among businesses and to help with national harmonisation.
“Retailers and their suppliers have been highly supportive of environmental initiatives,” Mr Stout said.
“We find small and medium businesses appreciate the personalised support and resources, given that they are busy running their business, serving customers, and supporting their staff.”
The National Retail Association have already helped over 60,000 Australian retailers, suppliers, and community organisations this year with multiple state-based plastics bans rolling out across the country.
“We are looking forward to visiting as many retailers in Victoria’s regional communities as possible to provide factsheets and signage, and to help them understand what they need to do to comply with the ban,” he said.
“Our services assist retailers with understanding exactly what is – and isn’t – banned, communicating with customers through the transition, and managing the costs of the transition.
“Businesses can prepare for the ban now by avoiding single-use plastic items and choose reusable alternatives instead. Where this isn’t possible, choose alternatives made from materials such as paper, wood, or bamboo.
“Businesses supplying reusable plastic items will need to provide a 1-year warranty or similar.
“Now is the time for businesses to prepare for the February ban by running down existing stock, ordering alternatives, and displaying signage to inform customers.”