Banned Items & Alternatives

From 1 July 2022, you cannot supply any plastic shopping bag, disposable plastic utensils or foodware, and expanded polystyrene foodware. From 1 October 2022, you cannot supply disposable plastic cups for cold drinks.

We note that it is an offence to provide false or misleading information about a banned item from 1 January 2022.

Businesses should first assess which items in their range need to change. When weighing up your options, consider if you really need to keep supplying the items and then consider reusable alternatives. If you need disposable alternatives, ensure you understand specific criteria and speak to your existing suppliers about compliant options.

Learn more about banned items

PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS

BANNED FROM 1 JULY 2022

PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS

IMPORTANT: The 2022 ban replaces the previous ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags.

The ban now applies to all plastic shopping bags of any thickness with handles which are used to convey goods from a business, including those used for home delivery or online sales.

This includes:

  • shopping bags with handles which are made from plastic or bioplastic film, of any thickness
  • paper shopping bags with handles which are plastic laminated

The ban does not apply to:

  • plastic bags without handles
  • produce or barrier bags (e.g. fruit/vege produce bags)
  • sealed packaging (e.g. bread bags)
  • other types of bags (e.g. bags for waste, nappies or dog waste).

ALTERNATIVES

First, consider if you need to supply a bag. You could encourage customers to bring their own, reuse stock boxes or provide trolleys.

Then, consider using or selling reusable bags made from fabrics such as cotton, jute, hessian, bamboo or hemp. You can also use synthetic fabrics such as nylon, recycled PET, or polypropylene*. Any shopping bag with handles made from plastic or compostable plastic film is banned, regardless of reusability.

*Non-woven polypropylene bags (like the green bag pictured below) must have stitched seams and a minimum weight of 90 gsm.

Finally, if you need a disposable option, you can use paper bags, but these must not have a plastic or cello laminate.

UTENSILS

BANNED FROM 1 JULY 2022

UTENSILS

Straws, Stirrers & Cutlery

The ban applies to:

  • disposable plastic straws
  • disposable plastic stirrers and swizzle sticks
  • disposable plastic forks, spoons, knives, sporks, splayds, chopsticks and food picks.

The ban does not apply to:

  • utensils used for food preparation or servingware (eg. tongs, cake servers)
  • items which arrive to store in pre-packaged food and beverage products (eg. straw attached to juice box).

ALTERNATIVES

First, consider whether you need to provide straws, stirrers or cutlery, especially if many of your customers consume your products at home or the office.

Then, consider reusable utensils such as metal, bamboo, silicone or glass. You could also encourage customers to bring their own reusable utensils which are available in handy kits.

Finally, if you do need disposable alternatives, consider uncoated paper, bagasse, wood, wheat or bamboo.

Important:

Utensils which contain any form of ‘plant-based’ or compostable plastic are not allowed (regardless of certification). In particular, most sugarcane straws and cornstarch cutlery contain bioplastics and are therefore banned. 

Exemption for straws:

Businesses can supply disposable plastic straws in certain situations to ensure access for people with a disability or medical need.

  • Businesses can keep plastic straws out of view and supply a single plastic straw only if a customer requests one as part of food or drink supply. You do not need to ask for a reason and you are not obliged to provide a plastic straw.
  • Packs of plastic straws can be supplied by authorised organisations and care facilities (see list).
  • Manufacturers can supply plastic straws to clients if they have reasonable grounds to believe they are for the above purposes only.

FOODWARE

BANNED FROM 1 JULY 2022

FOODWARE WITHOUT LIDS

Plates, Bowls & Containers

The ban applies to disposable plastic plates, bowls and containers which:

  • are used for food, and
  • do not have a lid.

This includes unlidded plates, bowls and containers made from paper which have a plastic coating or lining.

The ban does not apply to:

  • bowls or containers which have a lid when served (e.g. lidded soup bowls, lidded icecream tubs, deli tubs, sauce containers)
  • items which arrive to store as part of pre-packaged food and beverage products (eg. plate in frozen meal)
  • servingware (e.g. large platters)

ALTERNATIVES

First, consider if customers could bring their own foodware.

Then, consider reusable options such as ceramic, metal, bamboo, glass or thick reusable plastic. If most of your customers dine in-store you could save money and waste by using washable items.

Finally, if you do need disposable alternatives, consider uncoated paper, bamboo, wood or sugarcane pulp.

Important:

  • Unlidded bowls and containers made from paper must be uncoated, or have achieved Australian composting certification if they have a plastic lining or coating. (Note there is a transitional exemption for EU certified paperboard which has commenced AU certification - read more>)
  • Items made purely from bioplastic are not allowed (even if they are certified).

Is my item a bowl, food container or cup?

  • If it contains food and is round = it’s a bowl and banned 1 July. BUT if it has a lid, then the whole item (base and lid) is not banned.
  • If it contains food and is NOT round = it’s a food container and banned 1 July. BUT if it has a lid, then the whole item (base and lid) is not banned.
  • If it contains a beverage = it’s a cup and banned 1 October. If it has a lid, the cup base is still banned 1 October but you are not required to change the lid at this stage.
  • Beverages: Any room temperature, cold or frozen drink.
  • Food: eg. icecream, chicken, mousse, chips, soup.

EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE

BANNED FROM 1 JULY 2022

EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE

food containers and trays

The ban applies to:

  • disposable takeaway food containers made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) such as clamshells, plates and bowls.
  • disposable trays made from EPS (such as fruit/vege trays)

The ban does not apply to:

  • EPS trays which are solely used for raw meat or seafood
  • EPS containers used for business-to-business transport
  • EPS items which arrive to store in pre-packaged products (eg. EPS noodle cup, EPS trays packed by farmers)
  • EPS cups are not banned at this stage
  • lidded containers and packaging trays that are made from other plastics

For EPS takeaway containers, such as clamshells used for hot food:

  • Consider if customers could bring their own takeaway food containers.
  • Consider if you can introduce reusable options such as ceramic, metal, bamboo or glass containers
  • If you do need disposable containers, consider uncoated paper, bamboo, aluminium or sugarcane pulp.
  • Also be aware of the rules for plastic foodware when considering your options.

For EPS trays, such as those used in fruit, vegetable or bakery packaging:

  • Consider displaying products without trays or packaging.
  • You could offer reusable produce bags, or trays made from paper or sugarcane pulp if needed.
  • You can use EPS trays for raw meat or seafood, however many retailers are switching to more recyclable plastics, such as PET.

CUPS

BANNED FROM 1 OCTOBER 2022

CUPS

for cold drinks

The ban applies to:

  • disposable plastic cups or plastic glasses of any shape used for cold drinks
  • disposable paper cups which have any form of plastic or bioplastic (eg. in the lining or coating)
  • disposable cups made purely from compostable plastic.

If the cup has a lid you must change the cup, but are not required to change the lid at this stage.

The ban does NOT apply to:

  • disposable plastic cups used for drinks higher than room temperature (e.g. coffee cups)
  • containers which are used for food (for example, a container for icecream or soup may be called a ‘cup’ but is defined as a bowl under this ban - see rules for foodware)
  • plastic beverage containers such as soft drink bottles


ALTERNATIVES

First, consider if customers could be encouraged to bring their own cups for cold drinks.

Then, consider reusable options such as ceramic, metal, glass, or thick reusable plastic. If most of your customers drink onsite you could save money and waste by using washable items.

You may also like to swap to bottles or cans made from highly recyclable plastic (PET) or metal. Many of these now offer a 10c refund for recycling at collection points in WA.

Finally, if you do need disposable alternatives, consider uncoated paper, bamboo, wood or sugarcane pulp.

Important:

  • Most paper or fibre-based cups have a plastic or bioplastic lining or coating to make them waterproof.
  • These paper cups must have achieved Australian composting certification if they have any form of plastic or bioplastic lining or coating. (Limited exemptions may be available - read more>)
  • Items made purely from bioplastic (such as clear PLA cups) are not allowed, even if they are certified. 

 

BALLOON RELEASES

BANNED FROM 1 JULY 2022

BALLOON RELEASES

The ban applies to any person who releases a balloon inflated with gas that causes it to rise in the air.

This also includes:

  • an adult responsible for a child who releases the balloon
  • people, such as event organisers, which permit balloons to be released

The sale or supply of balloons is not banned or restricted.

FUTURE BANS

The WA Government has announced that further amendments will be made to the regulations. A Stage 2 ban is planned to commence 1 January 2023, with bans on supply expected to be enforceable by 1 July 2023.

Items being considered for the Stage 2 ban include:

  • produce bags
  • coffee cups
  • lids for food and drink containers
  • polystyrene packaging
  • microbeads
  • cotton bud sticks
  • oxo-degradable additives

We understand that some businesses would like to prepare early so we recommend considering reusable or non-plastic alternatives where possible.

Until the regulations are drafted, we cannot advise exactly which items will be banned or whether bioplastic alternatives will be permitted.

Opportunities to provide input and feedback on the Stage 2 ban will be provided in mid-2022. We encourage interested businesses to register for updates on this consultation process.

REGISTER FOR UPDATES

The National Retail Association has developed a Guide for Business which summarises key information about the ban.

Want to receive updates, new business resources and details of information sessions? Keen to have your say on the Stage 2 ban?