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NSW Single-use Plastics Ban FAQ

What is the single-use plastics ban and when does it start?

The NSW government began enforcing new legislation (Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 No 31) which bans the supply of lightweight plastic bags from 1 June 2022. 

The ban was extended on 1 November 2022, to further include other single-use plastics, such as:

  • Straws
  • Cutlery
  • Bowls and plates

The ban also forbids the sale of: 

  • Expanded polystyrene food service items, like polystyrene coffee cups and hamburger containers.
Where does the single-use plastics ban apply?

The single-use plastics ban affects all of NSW. Different states have different regulations, so take care to heed these rules when working or vacationing interstate.

What is the point of a single-use plastics ban? 

Plastic packaging and so-called single-use plastic items make up 60% of all litter in NSW. These items take thousands of years to decompose and in the process, they are causing great harm to our natural environment and wildlife. 

As suppliers and business owners, we are responsible for continuing (or limiting) the presence of single-use products in people’s homes and workplaces. We look forward to the positive change we can make together through our product choices. 

Fortunately, the single-use plastics ban will prevent nearly 2.7 billion plastic items from entering the coastal, marine and bushland environments of NSW over the next 20 years.

Does the single-use plastics ban affect Koch & Co? 

The single-use plastics ban very clearly affects businesses in the retail and hospitality industries (both retailers and suppliers).

As a supplier of products to florists, events professionals, and other trade professionals, this ban does affect some of our product ranges and therefore we are responsible for ensuring that our products meet the new rules set by the NSW EPA (Environment Protection Authority). 

How are Koch & Co transitioning away from single-use plastics?

Since the announcement of these changes, we have been phasing out single-use plastic products and replacing them with more sustainable products. 

Examples of products that we have phased out include events decoration products like single-use plastic cutlery, cups, straws, and tablecloths. Our range of bags has shifted away from plastic shopping bags and moved towards durable kraft paper and natural fibre bags.

We will continue to adapt to changing laws and values and provide a range of competitively priced products to meet these standards. 

What products are available at Koch & Co as substitutes for single-use plastics?
How do I know if I have single-use plastic in my workspace/home?

Single-use plastics are defined by different classifications, depending on the item in question. 
For example, 

  • Plastic bags: Single-use plastic bags are defined as plastic bags with handles that are made up of in full (or in part) of plastic that is 35 microns thick or less. 

Look here for a helpful visual guide of banned products. 

Are there exemptions to the ban?

The EPA has clarified that there are some permanent and temporary exemptions to the single-use plastics ban. Examples include:

  • An exemption applies for providing a plastic straw for people with a disability or medical need. 
  • A one-off, time-bound exemption applies for plates and bowls that are made of paper or cardboard but have a plastic lining or coating. 

More information about exemptions is available via the EPA website.