Local businesses are being urged to prepare ahead of the state-wide ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags. The ban will include compostable, degradable and biodegradable plastics and is due to commence from 1 November 2019.

This new law will apply to all retailers and suppliers regardless of size or type—from supermarkets to fashion boutiques, from fast food outlets to petrol stations.

Until recently, Victorians have used over 1 billion plastic shopping bags every year. The majority of these bags end up in landfill and around 10 million end up as litter, polluting the environment and endangering wildlife.

The Victorian Government has engaged the National Retailers Association (NRA) to work with Victorian businesses in preparing for the ban. The NRA has set up a toll-free Bag Ban Hotline (1800 817 723) to provide business with support in transitioning away from single use lightweight plastic bags. And detailed information about the ban can be found at vicbagban.com.au and plasticbags.gov.au.

There are many alternatives to plastic bags available. The Victorian Government encourages all retailers to prepare for the upcoming change and be aware that penalties will apply for noncompliance.

It is important to run-down existing stocks of noncompliant bags and consider what is the best option for each business and their customers. Being prepared will help with a smooth the transition for businesses and consumers. More information about this is available at vicbagban.com.au

Sustainability Victoria is also running the ‘Better Bag Habits’ campaign. It calls on Victorians to remember their bag, wallet, keys and phone – to the tune of the ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ rhyme. For more information on the Victorian Government’s public campaign visit sustainability.vic.gov.au/Campaigns/Better-Bag-Habits.

The Victorian ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags aligns with the government’s agenda to reduce single-use plastics and plastic pollution more broadly, and to shift from a linear model of resource consumption to a more circular economy of reuse and recovery.   Resources have been developed to assist Retailers including a FACTSHEET and in store SIGNAGE.