There is increasing consumer and government concern regarding “single-use” plastics, such as takeaway containers, straws, cutlery and other plastic items typically used once and then discarded.
The NRA supports initiatives to improve environmental impact, however these changes must be:
- nationally consistent
- fair for all retailers regardless of size
- carefully considered and researched
- commercially viable and realistic
Currently Australian businesses lack access to sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic items that are fit-for-purpose and affordable for all businesses. Current alternatives are up to 100 times more expensive than plastic options, and this could unfairly increase the cost of living for many Australians.
In addition, if different laws exist for different regions then businesses and consumers trying to do the right thing can actually be unfairly disadvantaged as they try to compete with businesses not affected by the increased costs.
Retailers support the reduction of single-use plastic, but there is more work to be done to ensure retailers and consumers are able to implement change in a fair, practical and long-lasting way.
Local policies affecting retail
The City of Hobart council recently introduced a by-law which proposes a ban on a wide range of single-use plastics, including plastic cutlery, sauce sachets, takeaway hot food containers and lids, plastic straws, plastic-lined noodle boxes, plastic-lined coffee cups, plastic lids on takeaway cups, and plastic sandwich wedges.
The SA Government is also considering options to reduce single-use plastics. Read more >
National Retail Association Sustainability Committee
Sustainability is a broad and vastly different proposition for the various channels of retail, however all have a commitment to the community and social responsibility.
The National Retail Association (NRA) Sustainability Committee seeks to minimise impact on the environment, whilst maintaining reputation and meeting the current and future expectations of customers.
The NRA’s Sustainability Committee aims to:
- bring together experts from across the retail industry, government and associated stakeholders to continue the momentum of positive sustainability regulations;
- consider the impact of retail activities upon sustainability, the community and environment;
- consider the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives, such as policy and industry mechanisms;
- contribute expertise to ensure sustainability policy is commercially viable and delivers sustainable outcomes;
- provide a non-competitive forum for key industry and government stakeholders to network and share insight;
- engage in ongoing dialogue between peers and specialists via the NRA’s private Sustainability Committee Linkedin Group.