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Victorian Government single-use plastic ban

From 1 February 2023, problematic single-use plastics will be banned from sale or supply in Victoria

Animation images of straws, cutlery, plates, drinking stirrers, takeaway food packaging, and cotton buds

The ban applies to single-use plastic drinking straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers and cotton bud sticks made from conventional, degradable, and compostable plastics. 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 Victorian Government has engaged the National Retail Association to assist businesses and organisations understand and preparing for the upcoming ban. The NRA will visit 3000 businesses across Victoria, develop resources, hold information sessions, and provide a toll-free hotline and mailbox.

Two people smiling at each other while holding two cocktails with reusable straws in them

Get ready for the ban now - free resources are available

We are encouraging everyone to get ready for the single-use plastic ban before it starts on 1 February 2023. The Victorian government-developed factsheet, poster and postcard below can help your business or organisation prepare for the ban. Otherwise, call the hotline on 1800 844 946 or email: sustainability@nra.net.au.

FAQs – Victoria plastics ban guide for business

FAQ: Single-use plastics guide for business

Factsheet – a short guide for businesses and organisations to assist in preparing for the upcoming ban.

Factsheet: Single-use plastics ban

Visit Sustainability Victoria for resources to assist your hospitality business make the switch to reusables with case studies, advice and free posters.

Check out the other resources available 

Postcard – help your customers understand how your business is complying with the ban.

Single-use plastics ban A6 postcard

Poster – help your customers understand how your business is complying with the ban.

Single-use plastics ban A4 poster

Visit Sustainability Victoria for resources to assist your hospitality business make the switch to reusables with case studies, advice and free posters.

Check out the other resources available 

Free information sessions

Join live information sessions for businesses and organisations every Friday at 11 am.

Click here to find out and to register for a session 

Frequently Asked Questions

Single-use plastics:

  • make up a third of the litter we see in our environment – they are difficult and costly to clean up
  • 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.

Many single-use plastic items are difficult and economically unviable to recycle. Often, they end up contaminating our recycling. They can often be easily avoided or replaced with reusable products.

By banning problematic single-use plastics, we will reduce plastic pollution.

Banned items are single-use plastic:

  • drinking straws
  • cutlery including knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, sporks, splades, food picks and sporks
  • plates
  • drink stirrers and sticks
  • cotton bud 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.

All forms of plastic can be bad for the environment when littered.

  • Single-use plastic drinking straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers and cotton bud sticks made from conventional, degradable and compostable plastics, including bioplastic and oxo-degradable materials are banned from 1 February 2023. The ban also applies to food service items and drink containers made from expanded polystyrene.
  • Compostable plastic items can harm wildlife the same way conventional plastic items do, if they are littered. Many compostable plastics require processing at a specialised compost facility in order to break down.
  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items and drink containers are banned from 1 February 2023. This includes EPS plates, cups, bowls, clam shells and any cover or lid that is also made from expanded polystyrene.

The Regulations do not apply to EPS containers used for food packaging and transport, where the food is not typically consumed from the receptacle. For example, the Regulations do not apply to EPS trays for transporting raw meats, large EPS food storage boxes or EPS gelato tubs.

The ban applies to businesses and organisations including not-for-profits, government, sports clubs, schools, and others that are incorporated.

It is the responsibility of all Victorian businesses and organisations to comply with the Regulations and not sell or supply certain single-use plastic items, including to patrons or customers.

From 1 February 2023, Victorians will not be able to purchase, or be supplied with single-use plastic straws, plates, cutlery, drink stirrers, cotton bud sticks or expanded polystyrene food service items and drink containers from any business or organisation.

These items cannot be sold or given away for free.

Businesses and organisations should consider offering reusable items or single-use items made from alternative materials.

There are limited exemptions that provide the use of items in specific circumstances. This includes the use of single-use plastic drinking straws for individuals who require them due to a disability or for a medical need.

A banned single-use plastic item is one that is made wholly or in part of plastic, and is not reusable. Reusable items are manufactured to be used for the same purpose on multiple occasions, and come with a warranty, or other written representation from the manufacturer, that they are designed to last for at least one year.

It is important that reusable plastic items are genuinely reusable, and durable enough to be used ongoing.

In order to define a banned single-use plastics item, the regulations for the ban also define the reusable equivalents of those items.

Reusable plastic straws, plates, cutlery, drink stirrers or cotton bud sticks are those that:

  1. are made to be used multiple times for the same purpose
  2. come with a warranty, or other written representation from the manufacturer, that they are designed to last at least one year.

If you are a business or organisation that sells, supplies, or provides reusable plastic straws, plates, cutlery, drink stirrers or cotton bud sticks you should check with your supplier that these products meet these 2 requirements.

If you are a manufacturer that sells, supplies or provides reusable plastic items you will need to provide a warranty, or other written representation as to the length of time the item is designed to last, of at least one year

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.

  1. Single-use plastic drinking straws for people who need them due to a disability or for medical reasons
  2. Single-use plastic cotton bud sticks for testing carried out for scientific, medical, forensic or law enforcement purposes
  3. Single-use plastic cutlery, where required, in correctional and mental health facilities to prevent physical harm or injury
  4. Until 1 November 2024 paper or cardboard plates lined with plastic
  5. 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).

From 1 February 2023, the use of single-use plastic drinking straws will be restricted and they can only be used by individuals who require them due to a disability or for a medical need. This exemption supports independent living, social inclusion, and equal participation.

Single-use plastic straws may be available at any retailer or hospitality venue; however businesses are not required to stock or sell straws.

From 1 February 2023, you will need to request a plastic straw as they will not be accessible to the public without the assistance of a staff member. This does not need to be a verbal request and you do not need to provide any proof of disability or medical condition.

Someone can ask for a straw on your behalf. This could be a carer, friend, or family member.

If you need single-use plastic straws, consider carrying one with you in case a venue does not provide them.

A preference to use plastic straws over other materials (such as paper) is not a valid reason for needing a single-use plastic straw. If you do not need to use a plastic straw, you should not ask for one.

Single-use plastic straws which bend, are flexible and can be positioned, are a vital accessibility aid for many people, who rely on them to eat and drink independently. Other options such as paper or reusable straws are not always suitable or safe.

Any business or organisation, including not for profit organisations, can sell or supply single-use plastic straws to a person who requires one due to a disability or medical need. Sale or supply of straws may be at a physical premises, online or through another distance selling arrangement.

The business or organisation must:

  • keep the straws in a place which is not accessible to customers without the assistance of a staff member, such as behind the counter
  • not offer or provide single-use plastic straws unless the customer has requested one.

There is no requirement for individuals to provide verification of disability or medical need when requesting straws.

Some paper or cardboard plates have a plastic lining – such as laminate or other thin film, to prevent inks and dyes from contaminating food.

Paper or cardboard plates with a plastic lining, regardless of whether the lining is made from conventional or compostable plastic, will be banned from sale and supply in Victoria 1 November 2024.

Alternative products that do not contain plastic are currently in development and are becoming available.

The delayed commencement of the ban for these items provides time for the industry and the community to transition to alternative non-plastic products. To support national consistency this date is aligned with similar rules in NSW.

The Victorian Government will work with businesses involved in the plastic lined paper plate supply chain to monitor and support this transition.

Avoid single-use items where possible and choose reusables alternatives instead.

If you cannot avoid single-use, then consider items made from non-plastic materials such as responsibly sourced paper, wood or bamboo.

The Sustainability Victoria website has more information and resources on how your business can avoid single-use plastics and make the switch to reusables.