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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.

Ban on single-use plastics

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:

If you have any other questions about the ban, you can email [email protected] or call their dedicated hotline on 1800 844 946.

Plastic free business pilot program

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.

Participating businesses

The 18 Camberwell based businesses that participated in the plastic free pilot program were:

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.

This includes:

  • 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.

For more information about the program, please contact our Environmental Sustainability team at [email protected] or on (03) 9278 4444.

Ways to reduce single-use plastics in your business

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.
For the latest COVID-19 hospitality (food and beverage services) sector guidance, visit the Victorian Government website-external site.

Plastic Free July

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.

More information

For tips on avoiding single-use plastics and waste more broadly, see our Avoiding waste page.

You can also find out more information by contacting our Environmental Sustainability team at [email protected] or on (03) 9278 4444.

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