2023 Plastics Ban: Everything you need to know

February 28, 2023

2023 Plastics Ban: Everything you need to know

The Victorian Government announced in 2021 that from 1 February 2023, “single-use plastics” (including degradable and compostable plastics) will be banned from sale and supply in Victoria. “Single-use” items now banned include drinking straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, and polystyrene drink and food containers. The ban comes after a recent study found that single-use plastics account for a third of Victoria’s litter and contribute significantly towards environmental pollution harming wildlife and water quality.

Reducing plastic pollution is a key factor in Victoria’s Circular Economy Plan, Recycling Victoria: A new economy. Therefore, as single-use plastics are often only required by consumers for a few minutes at a time, which could easily be avoided if such products were replaced with eco-friendly, biodegradable, or reusable alternatives.



Under the proposed initiative, the ban will apply to all retailers including but not limited to not-for-profit organisations, sports clubs, schools, other incorporated entities, restaurants, cafes and food outlets, convenience stores, wholesalers and manufacturers. All Victorian businesses and organisations are responsible for ensuring they comply with the Regulations by not selling or supplying single-use plastics to customers.

As Victorians will no longer be able to purchase or supply such items, it is the Government’s recommendation that reusable alternatives from non-plastic materials such as responsibly sourced paper, wood, or bamboo should be used. In addition, excess stock of banned items purchased prior to the ban commencement date are not to be sold or supplied.

Are you someone who relies on single-use plastics or a business who manufactures single-use plastics? Though the ban will be strictly applied throughout Victoria, specific circumstances such as concerns for health and safety will be exempt from regulation. Certain single-use plastic items can continue to be used for the following reasons:

  • Until 1 January 2026, as an integrated part of sealed food or beverage packaging, or an item included in or attached to such packaging.
  • Until 1 November 2024, paper or cardboard plates lined with any plastic.
  • Drinking straws for people who need them due toa disability or for medical reasons.
  • Plastic cotton bud sticks for testing carried out for scientific, medical, forensic or law enforcement purposes.
  • Cutlery where required in correctional or mental health facilities to prevent harm or injury.

The ban does not apply to re-useable plastic items like toothbrushes, plastic seasoning jars, or hard plastic cups and plates.


If retailers or supplies are found to have breached their obligations under the single-use plastics ban, penalties of up to $11,095.20 for individuals or up to $55,476 for companies may apply. Significant penalties may also apply for any misleading or deceptive claims around sustainability.



Universal Counsel can support your business in transitioning to alternatives to single-use plastics and in exploring more sustainable and compliant materials and practices across your business.

UC F&B and UC Health specialise in end-to-end support and solutions tailored for businesses in food, health, and beauty that may be captured by this ban.

Contact us today: food@universalcounsel.com.au // health@universalcounsel.com.au

Keep these key tips in mind:
  • If you receive a notice of investigation or infringement from the EPA, your local council, or any other regulator, contact us immediately to discuss your compliance strategy.
  • Consult with your supplier to arrange a creditor exchange for reusable alternative where possible. If you have issues dealing with existing suppliers regarding refunds or would like to be connected with suppliers of compliant alternative products, we can help.
  • Ensure that any claims you make regarding materials or practices used in your business being ‘sustainable’ or about their benefits for the environment are clear, evidenced, and lawful. ‘Greenwashing’ is a key focus for the ACCC in 2023 and is on the radar for regulators across all industries. Universal Counsel regularly provides claims audits, labelling reviews, and dispute resolution services designed to help your business minimise risk while optimising innovation opportunities.
  • Consider whether there may be grants or co-investments available to fund your sustainability project. Universal Counsel provides expert support in applying for grants and managing financing and investment arrangements.

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