KILMORE businesses received a visit from the National Retail Association on Friday to help them prepare for a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic bags.
The ban will be enforced from November 1 this year and applies to businesses of all sizes and types from supermarkets to fashion boutiques, from fast food outlets to petrol stations.
Project manager Ebony Johnson said it was important for small businesses to make sure their bags adhere to the new laws.
“It doesn’t include the bags used for veggies, meat and fish but it does affect every lightweight plastic carry bag and it’s all about thickness,” she said.
“The law says a banned bag is anything less than 36 microns in thickness and businesses need to be very clear with their suppliers.
“We recommend not going anywhere near that threshold because plastic is very unreliable in its thickness.”
Ms Johnson said some retailers in other states had been caught out using bags that were under the threshold despite printing on the bag saying otherwise.
“Retailers need to be very careful and believe what’s printed on the bag, a pretty picture of a tree won’t cut it,” she said.
“What they need is proof from their supplier, in writing, that it’s well above that 36 microns in any part of the bag.
”The safest option for small businesses is to stop using plastic all together and switch to paper, hessian or jute bags.
Ms Johnson advised business owners not to over-order bags as consumer behaviours change soon after the ban was enforced.
“We noticed in Queensland and Western Australia that once the ban comes in, people do start to bring their own bags and turn down bags,” she said.
“If they’re considering paper, just order a small amount and test it out, within the first month you’ll really see a change in consumer behaviour.”
A National Retail Association representative went door-to-door down Sydney Street on Friday talking to businesses about the switch.
For more information, the website vigbagban.com.au or call 1800 817 723.