Victoria will ban specific single-use plastics like straws, cutlery, plates and polystyrene containers, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced on Saturday.
She said single-use plastics would be phased out over the next two years in the state “to reduce the significant amount of plastic waste going to landfill each year”.
“In many cases, these single-use plastics can be substituted with readily available, cost-effective alternatives,” she said.
The ban will include plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks.
It will apply to all cafes, restaurants and organisations in Victoria by 2023, and to government departments and agencies by February next year.
The ban also applies to retail stores including supermarkets, which will not be able to sell the banned single-use plastic items.
It will not impact on medical or scientific equipment, emergency services or other activities that require these types of plastics for health and safety reasons, Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“The government will work with the aged care and disability sectors to ensure appropriate exemptions for people who require straws or other single-use plastics,” she said.
“The government will consult businesses and the community further with public consultation occurring throughout 2021 as part of a formal regulatory impact statement process.”
She said single-use plastic items made up about one-third of Victoria’s litter.
“We need to change this, so we’re getting rid of them,” she said.
“When you’re at the supermarket or at a cafe, we all need to be mindful of the choices we make and reduce the single use plastic we use.
“All Victorians can play their part.”
The ban comes after Coles announced it would stop selling single-use plastics this week, while Aldi made the decision last year.