Extra help for businesses to phase out single-use plastics
More than 40,000 businesses across NSW will be supported to phase-out single-use plastics in line with the NSW Government's recently announced Plastics Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021.
Environment Minister James Griffin said the NSW Government is partnering with the National Retail Association (NRA) to co-design and deliver a campaign to help businesses transition away from single-use plastics.
"Almost every piece of plastic ever made is still with us. More than 2.7 billion plastic items end up in NSW waterways each year – wreaking havoc on the environment and endangering wildlife," Mr Griffin said.
"To protect our environment we're getting rid of certain single-use plastics later this year and this campaign will help ensure NSW businesses are ready to go."
Over the next 9 months the NRA will visit more than 650 retail precincts providing factsheets, signage and advice to help businesses transition.
The supply of lightweight plastic shopping bags will cease from 1 June, with the supply of single-use plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, plates and bowls, cotton buds, expanded polystyrene food containers, and products containing plastic microbeads also ending from 1 November. Exemptions will apply to people who rely on certain plastic products for disability or health reasons.
"While we recognise a number of large and small businesses have already phased-out single-use plastics, for many the ban will involve significant change and they'll need government and community support," Mr Griffin said.
"Consumers will also need to be prepared for changes when collecting takeaway or making purchases, particularly when they receive straws, foodware or cutlery."
Small Business Minister Eleni Petinos said that strong cooperation between government and industry was needed to ensure minimal disruption.
"During the transition phase, the NSW Government will work closely with industry stakeholders to support a smooth changeover," Ms Petinos said.
"Small businesses need to know now how they will be impacted so that they can begin planning for alternatives to single-use plastics. Not only will this help smaller retailers comply with the new laws, it will also ensure that their customers are aware of the changes that will be occurring."
CEO of the National Retail Association Dominique Lamb said the program will also focus on supporting distributors, importers, manufacturers and not-for profit organisations through resources, online sessions and in-person forums.
"We also want to ensure we engage with hard-to-reach communities, especially small businesses, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups and regional areas," Ms Lamb said.
"Businesses and community organisations need our help to understand and comply with the ban, but also assistance with preparing their customers for the change."
The NRA has launched a free hotline 1800 844 946 to offer businesses, community organisations and consumers advice on the single-use plastic bans. For more information call 1800 844 946 or visit Plastics ban nsw