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Victoria to ban single-use plastics including straws, cutlery and cotton buds by 2023

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Disposable plastic straws, cutlery and containers will soon be banned in Victoria in a state government crackdown on single-use plastics.

Victorian Health Minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Saturday announced specific single-use plastic items would be phased out and banned by 2023.

Plastic straws, drink stirrers, plates and polystyrene containers and cups are in the firing line.

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Cotton buds with plastic sticks will also be prohibited.

With each Victorian on average sending about 68 kilograms of plastic to landfill each year, banning the items was a good place to start, Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Single-use plastic items – like straws and plastic cups – make up about one third of Victoria’s litter,” she said.

“We need to change this, so we’re getting rid of them.”

Suitable, sustainable alternatives are readily available and already commonly used, she added.

The ban will not include medical or scientific equipment, and exemptions will apply for emergency, disability and aged care services that require them.

The government has not decided if businesses will be able to access financial support to make the transition, nor if penalties will apply.

“The transition process will include full consultation about how … we make sure that these items cease to be supplied and sold in Victoria,” she said.

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“We’ve got almost two years to get this done and get it right.”

A regulatory impact statement will be conducted, addressing the cost to businesses and the availability of products needed to comply with the ban.

Despite the cost, Ms D’Ambrosio says Victorians want the change.

“There is a willingness there across individuals, families, businesses and the broader community to get this done,” she said.

Government will lead the way, she said, by phasing the items out of their own systems within a year.

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