9 June 2021

Regional businesses follow ACT's lead in preparing for single-use plastics ban

| Lottie Twyford
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Julia Howlett eating takeaway food at Moruya Health Cafe

Julia Howlett enjoys a meal in eco-friendly packaging at Moruya Health Cafe. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Eurobodalla Shire is following the ACT’s lead by helping local businesses find alternatives to single-use plastics.

The nationwide ban on some single-use plastics is set to take effect in 2025 although the Federal Government will begin to phase out some types of plastic and polystyrene sooner in order to meet the target.

Items such as plastic bags; any products termed ‘degradable’; plastic straws, utensils and stirrers; polystyrene food and drink containers; polystyrene packaging; and microbeads in personal health care products will all need to be replaced.

In the ACT, the ban on single-use plastic stirrers, cutlery and expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers will come into effect in July 2021, with a host of other items such as straws and degradable plastic products to join the banned list in 2022.

Legislation was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 30 March, 2021, in order to flag the change in the Territory, with the ACT Government noting it was the first jurisdiction to declare large events as free from single-use plastics.

In the ACT, individuals risk an $8000 fine if they are caught supplying banned items, with businesses risking fines of up to $40,000.

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Taking a leaf out of the ACT’s book, Eurobodalla Shire Council’s We Care program has been in place since 2019 to help local businesses replace plastics with more eco-friendly options.

The We Care program is a multifaceted approach to waste reduction which focuses on five key areas: financial, social, promotion, environmental and council support.

We Care project officer Alex King said the program could help local businesses take practical action ahead of the ban, including using existing stock of single-use plastic items.

“It’s a great idea for business operators to start preparing now, and the good news is we’re here to support them through this transition,” she said.

“We can provide free package samples and work one-on-one with business operators to try to find suitable alternatives within budget from their normal suppliers.”

Council also works with businesses to provide information and resources, as well as offering free signage and promotion to recognise businesses that participate.

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Ms King added it is important that businesses in the region remain in sync with ACT residents’ expectations in terms of single-use plastic.

“Our local and broader community is driving this change, and businesses by their very nature will need to respond to consumers, who will vote with their feet,” she said.

Eurobodalla Shire businesses wanting more information about how they can help reduce single-use plastics use and access free eco-friendly samples can contact Alex King on 0417 953 014 or email [email protected].

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