ACT plastic ban education highroad dickson cafe
Daniel Webster from Highroad in Dickson has used sustainable single-use items since the café opened over three years ago. Photos: Denholm Samaras.

The ACT Government has started an education campaign informing over 700 local businesses across the Territory of their responsibilities under the incoming single-use plastic ban.

From 1 July, the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic cutlery and stirrers, and expanded polystyrene foam containers will be banned in the ACT.

It will be the first of several phases of a wider ban that will eliminate a host of products over the next few years.

To ensure relevant businesses are properly informed of their responsibilities once the ban takes effect, the ACT Government has partnered with the National Retail Association to deliver tailored education programs for businesses.

General manager of Highroad, Daniel Webster, said the Dickson café has used sustainable single-use items since opening over three years ago.

“It does cost a little more, but I would say moving more toward using BYO containers and cups and things like that does save businesses a lot of money,” he said.

“I do find the customers are more than happy to bring their own containers and BYO cups.

“It’s quite trendy to be green these days and that’s a really good thing, so I’m happy the legislation is following suit.”

National Retail Association spokesperson, Ebony Johnson, said the Association will be traversing the ACT in coming weeks to discuss the ban face-to-face with up to 700 businesses.

“We find the best way is to walk in-store, grab those items, and then see what we can help them with,” she said.

“Up to 99% of businesses are on board, they’ve already made the changes, and usually it’s just a lack of understanding,” she said. “We’re trying to help them understand those solutions.”

ACT Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, said the education campaign is setting out to ensure businesses are aware of their obligations once the ban takes effect in July.

“Most businesses are doing the right thing and they’re really keen to help the environment; other businesses will require a little bit more of a nudge and that’s why we’re engaging with them face-to-face,” he said.

By 1 July, businesses in the ACT will need to make sure the products they supply customers comply with the legislation and are encouraged to use up existing supplies of single-use items in the interim.

With a maximum fine of up to $40,500 for failure to comply, the ACT Government said they “will focus on support and education for businesses over compliance in the first instance”.

Chris Steel single use plastics education announcement
ACT Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, said the education campaign is setting out to ensure businesses are aware of their obligations once the single-use plastic ban takes effect in July.

Mr Steel said there is an onus on consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use products, too.

“That’s really a call to consumers that if you don’t actually need to use any of these products, you can go back to the office and use some metal cutlery for example … that’s a much better alternative than using any single-use plastic product or any single-use bamboo or wood product.”

From 1 July 2022, single-use plastic items such as straws, barrier bags for fruit and vegetables, and all products made from degradable plastic are all slated to be banned in the ACT.

Plastic-lined single-use coffee cups and lids, single-use plastic dinnerware, boutique or heavyweight plastic bags, and cotton ear buds with plastic sticks remain under consideration for future phase-outs from 2023 onwards, with other items to be considered in the future.

Businesses with further questions on the ban can click here or contact the ACT single-use plastics business hotline on 1800 844 946

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