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Plastic pollution harms our health, wildlife, and the environment

These problematic single-use plastics will be banned across Victoria by February 2023

Infographic showing items that will be banned - Straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, Cotton buds

Single-use straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, and cotton bud sticks will be banned from sale or supply in Victoria by February 2023.

This ban will reduce plastic pollution.

Single-use plastics:

  • Make up a third of the litter we see on our streets and in our waterways – they are costly to clean up and difficult to recycle.
  • Are often used for only a few minutes but remain in the environment for a long time
  • Harm the environment – they break into microplastics which harm wildlife and contaminate our food and water.

What’s next?

We’re encouraging Victorians to choose to reuse now and we’re getting ready for the ban.

We’re working with industry and local government to support the transition to reusable products, and we’ll publicly consult on and finalise the regulations. The ban commences in February 2023.

What exemptions will there be? 

The ban will not affect medical or scientific equipment, emergency management services, or people who require specific single-use plastic products due to disability or for health and safety.

The government will work with the aged care and disability sectors to understand and develop exemptions for people who require straws or other single-use plastics.

What to use instead?

Choose to reuse or avoid altogether:

  • avoid straws or choose reusable ones made from bamboo, stainless steel, or silicone
  • avoid drink stirrers or choose reusable metal teaspoons or swizzle sticks
  • choose cotton buds without the sticks or with bamboo sticks

Choose reusable:

  • cutlery made from stainless steel, heavy-weight plastic, or bamboo
  • plates made from plastic or ceramic
  • glass, plastic, or metal containers
  • silicone cotton buds
Infographic showing alternative items to use instead of single use plastics, Metal silicone of paper straw, metal or reusable picnic cutlery, reusable plates, spoon or reusable drink stirrer, reusable food container, paper bamboo or reusable silicone buds

 

FAQs: Tackling plastic pollution

  • Single-use plastic:

    • straws
    • cutlery
    • plates
    • drink-stirrers
    • expanded polystyrene food and drink containers
    • cotton bud sticks.
  • These single-use items are sometimes used for just a few minutes and may be avoided or replaced by reusables.

    They are often littered and pose a contamination risk to recycling.

  • Like all plastics, oxo-degradable plastics are bad for the environment. They do not decompose. They become plastic fragments that pollute the environment for generations. Straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, food and drink containers, and cotton bud sticks made from oxo-degradable plastic are included in the ban that starts in February 2023.

  • Government departments and agencies will phase out single-use plastics, where it is safe to do so, by February 2022 ahead of the February 2023 ban.

    We will work with communities and stakeholders to finalise the design and delivery of the ban.

    The government will encourage and support Victorian businesses and organisations to join the Victorian Government in phasing out single-use plastic items ahead of the February 2023 ban.

  • The ban will not affect medical or scientific equipment, emergency management services, or people who require specific single-use plastic products due to disability or for health and safety.

    The government will work with the aged care and disability sectors to understand and develop exemptions for people who require straws or other single-use plastics.

  • Plastic pollution harms our health, wildlife and the environment and attracts significant clean-up costs.

    Single-use plastic items make up about one third of the volume of Victoria’s litter and cause harm to the environment. Many single-use plastic items are difficult and economically unviable to recycle. Often, they end up in and contaminate recycling. They can often be easily avoided or replaced with reusable products.

  • Choose reusables such as:

    • metal or paper straws
    • metal or picnic cutlery
    • picnic or ceramic plates
    • containers
    • cups

    Dine or drink in or BYO reusable items to takeaway.

    The Victorian Government will work with businesses to identify sustainable alternatives, ahead of the ban coming into effect.

  • Banning single-use plastics will reduce marine and land-based plastic pollution. It will also reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

    Reducing the production of single-use plastics also means fewer raw materials used and reduced emissions from manufacturing.

  • Current health advice supports the use of reusable cutlery, ceramic crockery, and ceramic/glass beverage containers with appropriate cleaning.

    For the latest advice visit www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

Reviewed 16 April 2021

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