NSW EPA steps up education for bag ban compliance

single-use plastic bag

With the New South Wales Government’s ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags coming into effect from today, the NSW EPA is stepping up efforts to educate retailers on how best to comply.

The new ban means businesses will no longer be able to either supply customers with lightweight plastic bags or keep stock of them – including stock purchased prior to the ban.

The Government has partnered with the National Retail Association (NRA) to run an education campaign to aid small businesses with the transition, including strategies for phasing out and replacing single-use plastics.

The EPA is also offering assistance to small businesses with managing excess stock of banned plastic bags, including identifying avenues for recycling.

“We are committed to a fair and considered approach to regulation and that’s why we are focussed firstly on awareness and education,” the EPA said in a statement.

“We understand there may be different circumstances for different businesses and there is no ‘one size fits all’ response.”

The NRA has made a dedicated hotline available (1800 844 946) for retailers, suppliers, community groups and not-for-profit organisations for advice on how to navigate the ban.

Fines for non-compliance will range from $11,000 for individuals to $55,000 for corporations, with penalties doubling for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors.

Further single-use plastics will be banned in New South Wales from 1 November 2022, including plastic straws, cutlery, plates, bowls, expanded polystyrene food containers and cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads.

An exception for food and drink vendors will allow them to provide single-use straws for a person with a disability or medical need, though these must not be displayed or accessible to customers.

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