Thousands of retailers across Victoria have already made the switch to more sustainable carry bags ahead of the ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags that came into force last Friday.
The National Retail Association, which has partnered with the Victorian Government to educate business owners about the ban, praised the state’s retailers for their enthusiastic support of the policy.
NRA Chief Executive Office Dominique Lamb said most national retail brands had already switched to more sustainable options such as recycled paper or reuseable plastic, as part of an Australia-wide approach to the issue.
NRA officers visited more than 180 metropolitan and regional locations since March this year.
The organisation has spoken with over 13,000 businesses across the state since March, to provide information and guidance on which bags were acceptable.
“We’ve also helped thousands of businesses through our Tollfree Bag Ban Hotline and our dedicated website www.vicbagban.com.au which offers a whole suite of factsheets, posters and translated material,” Lamb said.
“Overwhelmingly retailers are embracing this policy,” she said.
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) CEO Jeff Rogut, warned that for convenience shoppers, not having a bag with them could be an inconvenience for the few items they buy.
“As long as retailers have alternatives to offer their customers and the government exercises leniency during the transition period so that any stocks of non compliant bags are used up and there are ongoing guidelines available to educate retailers, we will adapt,” said Rogut.
“We also know from our experience in other states that both consumers and business owners will continue to develop their understanding of the new rules in the weeks and months ahead.
“And we’re confident that officials will focus their efforts on educating, rather than punishing, businesses who are still coming to terms with the new rules.”