The National Retail Association (NRA) commends the South Australian government for its action on single-use plastics, but insists more time and support is needed to help businesses to prepare and comply.
South Australia is the first state to ban single-use plastic items such as straws, cutlery, stirrers as well as expanded polystyrene foodware and oxodegradable plastics via the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Bill 2020, which was passed yesterday.
“We congratulate the South Australian Government on this legislation and appreciate that we have been engaged on the Stakeholder Taskforce alongside other key industry, community and environmental bodies,” said David Stout, National Retail Association Director of Policy.
“As members of the Taskforce we have provided extensive feedback on the legislation and some of this has been incorporated.
“However, there is much more work to be done to achieve clarity and consistency so that retailers can actually start making the necessary changes.
“Retailers want to make positive change but they need more guidance on what items are banned under the definition of limited use, and which alternatives will achieve sustainable and effective outcomes.”
Mr Stout also noted that, although an official commencement date had not yet been proclaimed, retailers will need at least 12 to 18 months to phase-out old stock and source alternatives, especially given current lack of clarity in the Bill and COVID-19 complications.
“Retailers, especially cafes and restaurants, have been doing it tough with many forced to close during the height of the pandemic, and they will need time and support to comply,” he said.
“It’s not as simple as switching it out one day – retailers often order a years’ worth of stock in advance, and they now need time to exhaust those supplies, research alternatives, negotiate new supply chains, train their teams, and educate their customers.”
Mr Stout said that a start date in 2022 was more realistic to help thousands of small businesses to minimise unnecessary cost burdens.
“Retailers are eager to comply and we will continue to work with government to seek clarity for businesses.”
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