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How small businesses can prepare for single-use plastics bans

Single-use plastics have a demonstrated impact on the environment, posing a life-threatening risk to our wildlife and waterways, and contributing to litter and landfill.

Banning these plastics is an important step towards a more sustainable future, which is important for WA and the planet as a whole. Small businesses need to plan ahead for the impacts this ban will have on your operations, if you have traditionally relied on disposable plastic products to serve your customers.

Here is your quick guide to some of the changes coming – and what you can do to get your business ready.

What are “single-use” plastics?

Single-use plastics are plastic items which are designed to be thrown away after one use and can’t be recycled. To help the environment, they will be phased out of use under the WA Government’s Plan for Plastics.

What will be included in the stages of the plan?

Stage one of the plan, to be completed by the end of 2021, will see plastic plates, bowls, cutlery, stirrers, straws, cups, polystyrene takeaway containers and helium balloon releases banned in WA.

Stage two of the plan is set to be completed by the end of 2022. This includes a ban on single-use plastic takeaway coffee cups and lids, produce bags, certain types of cotton buds, polystyrene packages and microbeads.

How to manage the impact on your business

Here are some ideas which might help you to prepare for the ban on single-use plastics in your business.

    • Get informed. There are many more sustainable options available once you start exploring single-use plastic alternatives. Some products are made from bamboo, natural or recyclable materials – or you may be able to introduce reusable alternatives.
    • Look for opportunities. Cutting out single-use plastics could lead to some fresh new ideas for your business. For example, you could explore offering a small discount to customers who bring their own cups or containers. If you sell packaged products, there may be some new branding or partnership opportunities available with a new, more sustainable type of packaging.
    • Look at your previous wins. Adjusting to changes and new regulations is part of running any business – it just takes time to plan ahead and then to adjust to the new changes. Perhaps your business has already adapted to the plastic bag ban and container deposit schemes and you can take a similar approach to removing single-use plastics from your business.
  • Focus on the bigger picture. There’s no doubt that single-use plastics have been convenient and cheap to provide – but now it’s time to focus on a more sustainable future. Being more environmentally-friendly in your business benefits for your customers, which can have a positive impact on your business in the longer term.
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