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Plastic ban: $370 fine for Aussies caught with these items

The Victorian government has expanded its single-use-plastic ban to include more items.

Australian money. Plastic cutlery, plates and cups. Plastic ban.
The Victorian government has expanded its plastic ban to include new items. (Source: Getty)

Plastic straws, cutlery, plates and drink stirrers are now banned in Victoria, under new rules that come into effect today.

Individuals caught selling, distributing or supplying the banned items can face fines of $370, while businesses face penalties of $1,849.

If the dispute goes to court, individuals can face penalties of more than $11,000, while businesses can be forced to pay more than $55,000.

Single-use plastics currently make up a third of Victoria’s litter, despite often only being used for a few minutes.

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“We are taking action to protect Victoria’s environment and reduce pollution by banning single-use plastic items and supporting businesses to switch to reusables instead,” Minister for Environment Ingrid Stitt said.

“Plastic pollution has significant impacts on our health, wildlife, and the environment. This single-use-plastics ban is a crucial step to protect Victoria’s rivers, waterways and oceans from plastic pollution.”

The ban applies to all businesses and organisations, including retail and hospitality businesses, suppliers, and organisations and not-for-profits. The ban does not apply to individuals undertaking private or domestic activities.

It follows the Victorian government’s ban on lightweight plastic bags in 2019.

What plastic items are banned?

From today, the following single-use plastic items are banned in Victoria:

  • Drinking straws

  • Cutlery (including knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks, sporks, splades and food picks)

  • Plates

  • Drink stirrers and sticks

  • Expanded polystyrene food-service items and drink containers (including plates, cups, bowls, clam shells and covers or lids)

  • Cotton bud sticks

There are some exceptions to the ban, including allowing single-use plastic straws for people who need them due to a disability or medical reasons.

The government will also phase out other plastic items over the next few years, including plastic-lined paper plates (exempt until November 1, 2024) and plastic that is integrated into food or drink packaging such as plastic straws on juice boxes (exempt until January 1, 2026).

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