Single-use plastics ban

From 1 February 2023, the Victorian Government banned the sale and supply of single-use plastic drinking straws, plates, cutlery, drink stirrers, cotton bud sticks, and expanded polystyrene food service items and cups. 

The ban is set out in the Environment Protection Amendment (Banning Single-Use Plastic Items) Regulations 2022 (the Regulations).

The reasons for the ban and additional resources are available on the Victorian Government website: www.vic.gov.au/plastics.

There are circumstances where some banned single-use plastic items (e.g. single-use plastic drinking straws, cutlery, or cotton bud sticks) can continue to be used, which may apply to health services. These targeted exemptions are designed for preventing physical harm, to allow for medical or scientific purposes, or to meet the needs of people with disability or medical need where alternative products are not suitable.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (formerly DELWP) has prepared the following fact sheets:

Fact sheet: Single-use plastics ban

Fact sheet: Exemptions

Health services continuing to use single-use plastics under exemptions in the Regulations

Health services that require continued supply of banned single-use plastics do not need to apply for an exemption to HealthShare Victoria (HSV) to continue providing these items for the specific circumstances listed in the Regulations.

However, suppliers have a legal requirement to be reasonably assured that the organisation or business that they are selling banned single-use plastic items to are using the items for exempt reasons.

Suppliers may require a statement from health services confirming that they are using the banned items in line with the Regulations.

HSV Distribution Centre customers will be asked to provide such a statement.

We recommend that health services obtain independent legal advice if they are uncertain about how the new Regulations affect their health service.

Alternatives to banned single-use plastics

Single-use alternatives to banned single-use plastic items are those manufactured from wood, bamboo or paper. HSV has sourced single-use alternatives for banned single-use plastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, plates and expanded polystyrene cups under the Catering Supplies and Workplace Supplies Agreements.

Reusable items are an alternative to single-use items. Sustainability Victoria has prepared information, case studies and masterclasses on reusable items in food service and hospitality. Visit www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/plastics.

For more information, contact the HSV helpdesk at helpdesk@healthsharevic.org.au.