LEADING THE WAY
South Australia’s Single-Use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 came into effect on 1 March 2021.
Single-use plastic cutlery and stirrers are now prohibited from sale, supply and distribution in South Australia and single-use plastic drinking straws are now restricted from sale, supply and distribution.
The state government understands that the flexibility and other characteristics of single-use plastic drinking straws are necessary to enable community members with particular needs to consume beverages and food. An exemption allows single-use plastic drinking straws to be accessible to community members who rely on these due to disability or medical needs.
The exemption allows the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic drinking straws at ‘prescribed businesses’, including pharmacies, Local Government offices; charities, medical, dental, and care facilities.
BECOMING A PRESCRIBED BUSINESS
What does a ‘prescribed business’ mean?
‘Prescribed businesses’ are able to sell, supply and distribute single-use plastic drinking straws although these are restricted and prohibited more broadly in South Australia from 1 March 2021.
Will it be mandatory for a prescribed business to stock packs of straws?
No – the exemption for prescribed businesses allows the sale, supply and distribution to occur. It does not obligate these businesses to stock or supply plastic straws, and it would be the choice of each individual prescribed business to do so.
Do I need to apply for an exemption or register my business/organisation to stock and supply single-use plastic drinking straws?
No – the exemption is being implemented through regulations under the Single-Use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020.
DISPLAY, SALE AND ADVERTISING
Does my business need to store plastic straws behind the counter, or request proof of a disability or medical need for access to these items?
No – there is no requirement for single-use plastic drinking straws to be stored behind counters and/or removed from public display/access in prescribed businesses. There is no requirement to seek evidence or verification of a disability or medical need.
Is my prescribed business allowed to sell single-use plastic straws online?
Yes – the exemption for prescribed businesses to sell, supply and distribute single-use plastic drinking straws applies to both in-store and online purchases.
Are there restrictions on my prescribed business advertising the sale of single-use plastic straws?
No – there are no restrictions on your business advertising the availability of single-use plastic drinking straws and you may wish to inform customers that you stock them. However, it is recommended that you refer to disability or medical needs in any advertising and communication material relating to the availability of single-use plastic drinking straws.
ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE
Who is enforcing the legislation?
Authorised Officers under the Environment Protection Act 1993 – the South Australian Environment Protection Authority.
Will I be held liable if my business sells single-use plastic straws to someone without a disability or medical need?
No – the exemption allows prescribed businesses to sell and supply the straws without seeking evidence or verification of disability or medical requirement.
PURCHASING SINGLE-USE STRAWS
Are there any restrictions on how many straws my prescribed business can purchase, display and/or sell over a given timeframe (i.e. within a financial year)?
No - the exemption does not apply limits on how many straws can be supplied/sold in prescribed businesses.
How can prescribed businesses source single-use plastic straws?
The exemption allows for continued sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic straws from manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors to a prescribed business.Talk to your supplier about options for purchasing these items. Contact Green Industries SA for assistance to identify how and from where these items may be able to be purchased.
You may choose to stock other designs also i.e. of different lengths and widths to accommodate the specific needs or preferences of individuals relying on these straws.
When purchasing single-use plastic straws from manufacturers, wholesalers and/or distributors will prescribed businesses need to supply documentation to confirm that they are a prescribed business?
The exemption allows a wholesaler or distributor to sell, supply or distribute single-use plastic straws to businesses provided that they are satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that the sale, supply or distribution is to a prescribed business. Therefore, wholesalers and distributors are able to seek confirmation that they are selling the straws to a prescribed business.