Retailers seek national alignment on phasing out single-use plastics

plastic packaging, single-use plastic

State and Federal governments have been asked to align their plans to phase out single-use plastics to smooth the way for retailers to adapt to new rules.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has called on the Federal Government to take the lead in facilitating such an alignment. CEO Paul Zahra says complex state and territory legislation includes eliminating 18 separate single-use plastic items across eight different jurisdictions – resulting in multiple deadlines to be met by retailers and communicated to customers.

“Addressing environmental challenges is a top priority for the retail industry,” Zahra explained. “We recognise the devastating impact plastics have on the natural environment, particularly on the health of marine life, and our sector is committed to being a part of the solution.”

Zahra said retailers understand the role they have to play in addressing plastic pollution, but the “lack of national approach” is making the phase-out more complex and costly than necessary.

The ARA developed a chart to present the complexity of various bans.

He also said that while they commend states and territories for being proactive in driving changes, it resulted in an inconsistent program with different single-use plastics being phased out at different times and in different parts of the country.

“For retailers operating in multiple jurisdictions, this is a headache they could do without,” Zahra said.

He added they hope to see the Federal Government develop a national framework that creates alignment between jurisdictions, with a mutually agreed timeline to phase-out single-use plastics that everyone can adhere to.

“With plastics research on the global agenda in our memorandum of understanding with the US, it’s important to get alignment nationally as a basis for our global alignment,” Zahra concluded.

This story first appeared on our sister publication Inside FMCG