Complying with the plastics bans

Businesses, community organisations, education facilities, and not-for-profits must all comply with the plastics bans. This means you must not supply a banned item at all.

It is not an offence in NSW to supply a banned item to a person outside NSW, but we recommend checking for similar bans in other jurisdictions.

Exemptions apply in certain settings to allow the continued supply of single-use plastic straws to people with a disability or medical need. There are also other exemptions for other items in certain circumstances.

Regulation and enforcement

As the sole regulator for the bans, we use a proportionate, risk-based approach, considering the whole range of our regulatory tools, to influence, enable, monitor and enforce compliance. We use proactive intelligence-based approaches to regulation to identify and educate businesses that may have a high risk of non-compliance.

While we are in the introductory phase of the ban, we are focusing on an education and awareness first approach to support businesses to switch to more sustainable alternatives.

Addressing non-compliance

Any non-compliance will be assessed on a case-by-case basis using a risk based approach and considering the EPA Regulatory Strategy and Regulatory Policy (PDF 6MB).

We understand there may be different circumstances for different businesses and people, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ response. We will consider relevant factors when deciding on the appropriate course of action, which may include any available evidence of whether a business or person has taken steps to prepare for the new requirements and its efforts to comply.

The EPA Regulatory Policy sets out a range of matters that the EPA may consider, where appropriate and relevant, when responding to non-compliance. This may include the attitude, behaviour and intent of the business. Enforcement action could include a range of tools, including warnings, official cautions, issuing of compliance notices and penalty notices or prosecution. When considering whether or not to prosecute, we review the matters set out in the EPA’s Prosecution Guidelines.