The Victorian government will phase out specific single-use plastic items from its departments and agencies over the next year, ahead of a state-wide ban by 2023.
Environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Saturday said the ban across Victoria would include single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks.
“Single-use plastic items — like straws and plastic cups — make up about one third of Victoria’s litter. We need to change this, so we’re getting rid of them,” she said in a statement.
“When you’re at the supermarket or at a café, we all need to be mindful of the choices we make and reduce the single-use plastic we use. All Victorians can play their part.”
She said government departments and agencies would “lead by example” by phasing out certain single-use plastic items by February 2022. Government bodies such as Melbourne Museum, the NGV, TAFEs and Zoos Victoria have already begun replacing single-use plastic products with sustainable materials, D’Ambrosio noted.
All cafes, restaurants and organisations in Victoria will be required to follow suit by 2023.
Industries and activities that need single-use plastics for health and safety reasons, including for medical, scientific, and emergency services purposes, would not be impacted by the ban.
The government has said it will work with the aged care and disability sectors to ensure people who need straws or other single-use plastics receive an exemption.
It will also consult businesses and the community throughout 2021 as part of a formal regulatory impact statement process.
The ban is part of the state government’s 10-year plan to build Victoria’s circular economy and transform the waste and recycling system.
In September South Australia became the first state in Australia to pass legislation banning the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic products. The ban came into effect on Monday, March 1.