Mark it in your calendars: 1st of February 2023. Victoria will be one of the last states in the country to introduce their new single-use plastic bans. Woohoo!
What Items Are Banned?
The newest single-use plastic bans in Victoria will come into effect from February 1st 2023 and prohibit the sale or provision of the following single-use plastic items:
- Drinking straws
- Cutlery (including knives, forks, chopsticks, sporks and food picks)
- Drink stirrers
- Cotton bud sticks
- Foodware and cups made from expanded polystyrene
Single-use items that contain compostable plastic or ‘plant-based’ plastic are not allowed. Check out our Guide to Compostable Packaging to learn more.
Exemptions from the ban exist for those who require single-use items due to a disability or medical reason. The Victorian Government encourages businesses to support their customers by accepting reusable items
Unfortunately, the Victorian single-use plastic ban does not yet include single-use plastic coffee cups and lids. However, Western Australia has now announced that Stage 2 of their single-use plastics ban will include the phasing out of single-use coffee cups and lids! Considering Australians use 1.8 billion coffee cups a year, this is going to create MASSIVE changes to waste reduction in WA- we hope that every state and territory follows suit! Check out their coffee cup fact sheet here!
Who Enforces the Ban?
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will be responsible for enforcing the single-use plastic ban in Victoria. Non-compliance with the ban can be reported to the EPA from February 1st by:
- Completing a pollution report
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Calling 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)
Individuals can face up to $370 fines while businesses can be fined $1,849 or up to $54,000 in extreme cases.
Why Does the Ban Exist?
It has been consistently proven that single-use plastic is harmful not only to the environment but also to our health and wildlife. The Victorian Government states that single-use plastics make up a third of the waste we see in our environment and they are expensive and difficult to clean up. Further, single-use plastics often contaminate our recycling. Stopping pollution from the source is the only way forward. There are so many sustainable alternatives, why wouldn’t we ban them?!
How Do Responsible Cafes Come Into It?
Responsible Cafes is here to support businesses and keen beans during the transition from single-use to sustainable practices. We continue to encourage our cafes and keen beans to participate in the reuse revolution because we know it will have the most impact in reducing waste and protecting our environment.
We’ve created campaigns and resources such as Bring Your Own Fridays to assist you in transforming your coffee run routines to be as sustainable as they can be by reminding you to bring your reusable items every week.
You can download our Victorian Single-Use Plastic Ban poster here to display to your customers to show your compliance with the bans and simply break down which items are no longer allowed.
I’m A Keen Bean, How Can I Prepare?
Get your reusable items at the ready keen beans!
- Put your reusables (cups, cutlery, straws, bags) near your keys, in your car or in your handbag so you’re never left stranded
- Use handy sustainability apps like Zimbo to track your reusable revolution journey and remind yourself to take your reusables
- Support cafes that encourage the use of reusables
- Report non-compliance when you see it
I’m A Cafe, How Can I Prepare?
Get a FREE Sustainability Audit from us!
Reach out to us if you’d like us to offer cheaper and better packaging for your business!
Sustainability Victoria have collated some inspiring success stories of businesses killing it by moving away from single-use items, from cafes that have gone entirely plastic free to our amazing Surf Coast Shire Council member who have introduced a nifty reuse program for their cafes (humble brag!). We encourage you to have a read to get some hot tips on how you can become a more sustainable business, all while complying with the bans!
Here’s how you can prepare:
- Make reusables your first option: reusables are the easiest, cheapest and most sustainable alternative to single-use plastic
- Be loud and proud! Encourage, support and empower your customers by showing them you accept reusable items! We have lots of free resources for you so that you can display to your customers that you take reusables!
- Contact your local council and ask them how they plan to support you: are they a Responsible Cafes council member?
- If you have to use single-use items: find items that use wood, bamboo or paper- have you checked out Compostable Alternatives for home compostable single-use items including coffee cups and lids?
- Become a Responsible Cafe and get your Responsible Cafes Sustainability Accreditation: that way you have access to even more resources and support and can display your sustainability efforts to your customers
It is really important for cafes and businesses to prepare early so that your transition is easy. If Western Australia is anything to go by, Victoria and other states will likely update their bans to prohibit the use of single-use coffee cups in months to come (fingers crossed!).
That will be a HUGE step forward for our country in waste reduction, but something you need to prepare for early. Responsible Cafes is here to help you and we encourage you to reach out directly to us with any and all questions, as well as keep up-to-date with our resources, education, guides and product recommendations through our social media.