The NSW Government has legislated under the Plastics and Circular Economy Act 2021 the removal of certain single use plastics from 1st June 2022 to address the problem of plastic waste that affects the health of our environment and community.

While the legislation was passed in November 2021, it is only recently that information and educational sessions have begun.  While we applaud the NSW Government for taking action against plastic waste – in response to thousands of submissions and years of lobbying by environmental groups, upon first review the details of what is banned and what is not, is a bit complicated and not entirely clear, even  to those who work in this space!

As you can see from the infographic above, the bans commence from 1 June with lightweight plastic shopping bags.  The first items to be banned are shopping bags with handles, designed to carry goods.  Not every lightweight bag is banned.

Then from 1 November 2022, all single use plastic straws (except used in medical situations), plastic hot drink stirrers and plastic cutlery are banned. Polystyrene cups and boxes also banned.  Plastic plates and bowls are prohibited to be sold or supplied in the course of business.  But notable exceptions include single use coffee cups and lids, and takeaway food containers with lids.  So it is quite a minefield!

The goal of the team here at the Better Business Partnership is to help small businesses with what is key for them to know and more importantly what alternatives are available and appropriate for your business.  We will be holding a series of webinars to help business navigate through this Plastics Ban.  It is imperative that every business owner (and community and sporting groups) get an understanding of how this may impact your operations, as non-compliance will attract very high financial penalties with fines up to $55,000 for non-compliant organisations.  The first webinar was recorded on 6 April and can be accessed below.