Businesses in NSW supplying single-use plastic bags could face fines of up to $275,000 from next week.
Starting 1 June, a state-wide ban on lightweight single-use plastics comes into force, with further bans on plastic straws and stirrers, food ware and cups, cotton buds, and other items from November onwards.
“Single-use plastic items and packaging make up 60 per cent of all litter in NSW,” noted Minister for Environment James Griffin.
“By stopping the supply of problematic plastic in the first place, we’re helping prevent it from entering our environment as litter, or going into landfill. We each have the power to make positive environmental change at an individual level, and I encourage everyone to choose to go plastic-free as often as they can.”
This comes after the NSW Government introduced the Plastics Action Plan last year and passed the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 in November.
Sole traders who continue to use single-use plastic bags could see fines from $11,000, with a maximum of $275,000 for corporations.
Over the next two decades, the ban is expected to prevent almost 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment.
Interestingly, other items that will soon be banned include personal care products using plastic microbeads, and so-called “bioplastic” alternatives, as they don’t biodegrade unless treated in an industrial composting facility.
A comprehensive retailer education campaign is underway with the National Retail Association (NRA) to help more than 40,000 businesses across NSW make the transition away from single-use plastics.
“The NSW Government has worked with stakeholders to support small businesses to understand how they will be affected, how to comply with new laws and what alternatives they can use to single-use plastics,” said Minister for Small Business Eleni Petinos.
Businesses seeking advice on the plastic ban can call the NRA’s free hotline on 1800 844 946. For more information, click here.