Exemptions guidance

Some plastic items are currently exempt from the bans where this is no safe alternative reusable item. This includes items for medical reasons.

Current exemptions are listed on the public register, where they will be updated. Each exemption has a guidance that explains when the exemption applies and what you need to do to comply with it.

These exemption guidances are for:

  • plastic single-use straws: an ongoing exemption that permits the supply of plastic-single use straws by certain businesses and organisations to individuals (and those acting on behalf of those individuals) who need a plastic single-use straw due to a disability or other medical need.
  • plastic lined paper plates and bowls: permits the supply of plastic lined paper plates and bowls while suitable alternatives are sourced. This exemption ends on 31 October 2024.
  • plastic single-use cotton buds and plastic single-use bowls: an on-going exemption that permits the continued supply of plastic single-use cotton buds and plastic single-use bowls for medical, scientific and forensic purposes subject to certain conditions. The EPA intends to review this exemption after two years (1 November 2024), but may still review it at any time.
  • plastic single-use cutlery: a time-limited exemption to permit the supply of plastic single-use cutlery in certain circumstances and settings. This includes to ‘exempt facilities’ (such as correctional and mental health facilities) where its use is required to help prevent violence, injury or harm (until 31 October 2024, subject to the conditions of the exemption). It also includes public hospitals in exceptional or emergency situations when they are prevented from using alternative cutlery (until 31 October 2023, subject to the conditions of the exemption).