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.
Multiple policies affecting retail
Governments in multiple states and territories are currently either implementing or considering bans on a range of plastic items including:
- beverage containers
- plastic straws
- plastic cutlery
- plastic stirrers
- plastic plates / bowls
- plastic cups
- plastic takeaway containers
- polystyrene containers, plates, bowls and cups
- plastic lined coffee cups
- plastic bags
- degradable / oxodegradable plastics
The National Retail Association is involved across all jurisdictions, representing retailer perspectives and ultimately encouraging national consistency to prevent negative impacts and confusion.
Download our Summary Table on current and proposed legislation affecting plastic.SUMMARY TABLE
Recent submissions to government
Sustainability in the Retail Supply Chain | 2021
As online shopping rates remain high due to the impacts of COVID-19, sustainability is more important to Australian consumers than ever before, with 63% stating they would pay extra for a delivery service that was more environmentally-friendly. A new research report ‘Sustainability in the Australian Retail Supply Chain’ commissioned by Manhattan Associates, Shippit and Greener – in partnership with the National Retail Association (NRA) and NORA, also revealed 60% of Australian consumers are open to receiving a delivery at a later date if it meant that it was delivered more sustainably.
Detailed decision guide on plastic disposal
Detailed decision guide on plastic disposal from University of Technology Sydney.
Submission: ACT Single-Use Plastics Draft Bill
As per our submission to the ‘Phasing out single-use plastics’ the NRA supports the ACT Government's review of single-use plastic, and support most aspects of the legislation. However we submit that some challenges and queries persist.
Submission: QLD single-use plastics (July 2020)
The Queensland Government is proposing a ban on the supply of specific single-use plastic products, starting with straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers. While retailers support most of these bans, the NRA has made submissions to highlight challenges and considerations...
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.