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You can help reduce plastic pollution by switching your business away from single-use plastics to environmental alternatives. Learn the different ways you can reduce the use of plastic in your business and move toward becoming plastic free.
From 1 February 2023, the Victorian Government is banning single-use plastics for sale or supply throughout Victoria. This ban aims to protect Victoria’s rivers, waterways, and oceans from plastic pollution.
The following items are included in this ban:
- Plastic straws, plates, cutlery, and drink stirrers
- Cotton bud sticks
- Polystyrene containers.
Single-use plastic straws will remain available for people who need them due to a disability or for medical reasons. You can find more information about the ban on the Sustainability Victoria website-external site and on the Victorian Government website-external site.
How to prepare for the ban
In preparation for the single-use plastics ban at your business, you can:
- start running down current stocks of the banned items and avoid ordering any more of the banned single-use plastic items
- avoid single-use packaging where possible
- speak with your packaging supplier to discuss alternatives for your next order – consider alternatives such as reusable items or items made from materials such as bamboo, wood, or paper (Forest Stewardship Council certified where applicable) when a single-use item is required.
Avoiding single-use plastics is the cheapest and simplest option you can take. Where avoidance is not possible, reusable alternatives are a good option.
Resources to help businesses prepare
The Victorian Government have also provided resources to help businesses prepare for the ban. These include:
- A series of free, informative online masterclass videos with industry leaders sharing examples and learnings about reuse solutions. These videos are available on the Masterclasses for reuse page of the Sustainability Victoria website-external site.
- Free online Q and A sessions run by the National Retail Association, where you can learn about the ban and how to prepare. These are being held on Fridays at 11 am. You can register to attend on the VIC Plastics Ban - Business info sessions page on Eventbrite-external site.
- Poster resources you can download and print, to help communicate the ban to your customers and staff, and to let your customers know you welcome reusable or BYO containers. These are available on the Business posters page of the Sustainability Victoria website-external site.
- Information packs and translated materials about the ban. These are available on the Reducing plastic pollution starts with us page of the Victorian Government website-external site.
We ran a pilot program with 18 food and hospitality businesses in Camberwell. This program helped these businesses reduce and remove single-use plastic items. We supported these businesses to replace items with reusable or sustainable options.
We partnered with the Boomerang Alliance and worked with the Camberwell Centre Traders Association to deliver the program. The program started in May 2022 and ended in November 2022.
We wanted to learn through this program how we can best support businesses in Boroondara to reduce their plastic use.
The 18 Camberwell based businesses that participated in the plastic free pilot program were:
- Barrel & Roast-external site
- Collective Espresso-external site
- Heritage Wall Cafe-external site
- Ignite Cafe-external site
- Legacy Cafe-external site
- Soul Sisters Cafe-external site
- MickeyLees Pizza-external site
- Yum Yami-external site
- REX Espresso-external site
- Afghan Village Restaurant-external site
- Dale La Pau-external site
- Nigel-external site
- Chargrill Charlie’s-external site
- Latte Da Cafe-external site
- Fish & Sushi Well-external site
- Hash Specialty Coffee-external site
- Thirty Mill-external site
- Coltivare-external site.
Results of pilot program
The 18 participating businesses achieved some great outcomes and made changes to best suit their business needs during the pilot program.
- removing more than 76,500 pieces of single-use plastic. This includes plastic straws, cutlery, water bottles, drink cups and lids, takeaway containers and more
- trialling and sourcing sustainable options, and switching to reusable items such as glass for customers dining-in
- encouraging customers to reduce their use of disposables and bring in their own reusable items, such as cups, containers, and bottles
- learning how to ensure they are compliant with the Victorian Government single-use plastics ban, with most participating businesses becoming compliant before February
- thinking about waste reduction and sustainability more broadly, and getting the tools to continue to improve their practices.
You can support and celebrate their achievements by shopping locally. Remember to take your reusable items with you when buying food and drinks, including things like:
- reusable containers
- reusable cutlery
- reusable cups or bottles
- reusable bags
- reusable straws.
Making the switch away from single-use plastics can:
- benefit your business
- help to attract new customers
- protect the environment.
Here are some tips for reducing single-use plastics in your business:
- Brainstorm with your staff about ways you can reduce single-use plastics and make a plan.
- Think about what you are giving out. What plastic products or packaging can you remove, reduce, or replace with sustainable options? Even if a disposable option is compostable, it is better to go for a reusable option. Have a chat with your suppliers about the alternatives they offer.
- Ask customers to bring in their own reusable coffee cups, takeaway containers and bags.
- Spread the word and get your customers on board. The more people who are aware of the issue and the solutions, the bigger the impact! This can include social media content and shop signage.
Download our shop signage resources to help reduce single-use plastics
Every July, millions of people around the world choose to participate in Plastic Free July as a way to reduce their use of plastic. If you would like to get involved or to find out more about reducing plastic waste in your business, visit the Plastic Free July website-external site.
For tips on avoiding single-use plastics and waste more broadly, see our Avoiding waste page.