Plastic Wise Businesses

What is the problem with single-use plastics?

In Victoria, single-use plastic makes up about a third of the litter in our streets and waterways. It's used on average for less than 12 minutes. Most plastics don't biodegrade. If they end up in waterways they can have a devastating impact on marine wildlife. It is estimated that plastic pollution kills millions of marine animals and seabirds each year. For more on the issue of plastic pollution in the environment please visit WWF.

The State Government recently announced a ban on 7 key single-use plastic items by 2023. This will go a long way to helping Victorians move away from our reliance on many single-use plastic items. 

How to become a Plastic Wise Business

The good news is, there are many ways to reduce our reliance on single-use packaging. Our Environmental Health Team has developed two information sheets to help food businesses reduce their plastic waste.

  • The Plastic Free Food Businesses information sheet provides tips and advice for reducing reliance on single use plastics.
  • The BYO Containers information sheet provides advice on how to safely use reusable containers and the relevant requirements under the Food Standards Code.

Plastic Free Sydney Road Trial

We have partnered with Boomerang Alliance to support food retail businesses reduce single-use plastic packaging including coffee cups, takeaway containers and straws.

The four-month trial started in March and will run till June 2021. 27 food businesses in the Brunswick and Coburg Sydney Road shopping precincts are taking part in the trial. Businesses receive tailored advice and support to identify and implement environmentally responsible and cost-effective single-use packaging alternatives.

Plastic Free Sydney Road is part of the national Plastic Free Places program, run by Boomerang Alliance. These programs have successfully eliminated over 6 million plastic items from businesses across Australia.

For more information about the trial please email or call 9240 1111.

How residents can support businesses in the Trial

We encourage Merri-bek residents to support the participating businesses and their plastic free efforts – a full list of participating food retailers will be available here.

Using reusable cups and containers during 'COVID Normal'

Current advice for food businesses can be found on the DHHS Coronavirus (Covid-19) website under the sector guidance for hospitality (food and beverage) businesses within Victoria.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for any regulations and guidance on the safety of reusable packaging, cups and containers for food businesses during the pandemic.

Specific advice available on the DHHS link above includes

  • the safe use of the 'contactless pour' technique for hot beverages
  • using 'swap and go' packaging.