Plastic Free Stonnington

The City of Stonnington is committed to taking a leading role in reducing the use of single-use plastics within our city.

Single-use plastics:

  • make up a third of the litter we see on our streets and in our waterways – they are difficult and costly to clean up
  • are often used for only a few minutes but remain in the environment for a long time
  • pollute the environment – harming wildlife and contaminating our food and water.

What's changed?

The Victorian Government's single-use plastics ban came into effect on 1 February 2023, banning the sale or supply of the following six single-use plastic items, regardless of when they were purchased:

  • drinking straws (except for accessibility reasons)
  • cutlery
  • plates
  • drink stirrers
  • expanded polystyrene food and drink containers
  • cotton bud sticks.

Council has developed a Plastic Free Policy to support Stonnington's compliance with Victoria’s single-use plastics ban. It outlines our commitment to reducing and eventually eliminating the use of single-use plastics across:

  • Council operations and services
  • Council events
  • events held on Council land and in Council-managed sites.

In addition to items banned by the Victorian Government, Council's policy also includes plastic bags and balloons. From February 2024, we will also be phasing out the following single-use plastics from our venues:

  • plastic bowls and cups
  • plastic wrap
  • single-use water bottles
  • disposable coffee cups and lids
  • single serving sachets and sweets
  • bubble wrap.

You'll find alternatives to these items below.

How does this affect you?

Business owners

Businesses can play a key role in transitioning away from problematic single-use plastic items. Customers are increasingly aware of their waste footprint and eager to support sustainable businesses.

Reduce plastic waste by:

  • avoiding items in the first place
  • switching to or selling reusable alternatives
  • providing discounts to customers that bring their own reusables
  • choosing sustainable single-use items, such as those made from bamboo, wood or responsibly sourced paper.

Stonnington businesses are encouraged to use our poster(PDF, 69KB) to promote reusable alternatives.

The Victorian Government have also created free resources to help businesses comply with the ban. These include:

  • factsheets and posters
  • translated resources
  • accessibility resources
  • reusable solutions, resources and promotional opportunities.

If you have any questions about the state ban, contact the National Retail Association's dedicated hotline for businesses on 1800 844 946 or email

Community groups and sports clubs

Community groups, sports clubs, and booked events held on Council land are required to comply with Council's Plastic Free Policy.

Clubs and groups should:

  • assess whether the item is necessary and avoid purchasing it if not
  • choose reusable products over single-use if possible
  • if there are no reusable alternatives available, a recyclable alternative should be chosen
  • If there are no recyclable alternatives, a recoverable alternative may be chosen.

Council Officers will support and help organisations or individuals organising an event to comply with this policy. However, if there is poor adherence to the policy, Officers may recommend that these events not be supported or approved by Council in the future.

Events on Council-managed land will need to commit to comply with the policy before any Council sponsorship for that event is approved.

Resources to support your group:

Alternatives to single-use plastic items

Single-use plastic items are designed to be used once or for a limited time before being discarded. However, they can often be easily avoided or replaced with reusable or recyclable items.

Single-Use Plastic Item Sustainable Alternatives
Plastic straws Reusable bamboo, silicone or metal straws
Plastic cutlery Reusable metal, bamboo or FSC-certified wooden cutlery
Disposable plates Reusable plastic or ceramic plates
Plastic drink stirrers Reusable metal teaspoons
Polystyrene containers Reusable glass or plastic containers OR recyclable cardboard or aluminium containers
Cotton bud sticks Cardboard or bamboo varieties
Takeaway coffee or polystyrene cups Reusable cup or mug
Plastic water bottles Reusable water bottle or cup
Plastic bags Reusable fabric bags OR recyclable cardboard boxes or paper bags
Plastic produce/bread bags Purchase loose items and use your own bag/container OR use recyclable paper bags
Plastic cling wrap Reusable glass or plastic containers, silicone or wax covers OR recyclable aluminium foil or paper bags
Balloons Reusable bunting OR recyclable paper decorations OR blowing bubbles (outdoors only)

Discover more tips to avoid single-use plastics and reduce waste.

Degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics

Some plastics are labelled as degradable, biodegradable or compostable. These plastics are often a mix of plant and conventional plastic. These plastics cannot be recycled, are often single-use and can harm wildlife when they enter the environment.

Degradable plastics have chemicals added to cause the plastic to break down into microplastics over time when exposed to sunlight and heat. They are best avoided altogether and belong in the garbage bin.

Biodegradable plastics have microorganisms added to break down the plastic. They are also best avoided and belong in the garbage bin.

Compostable plastic packaging must be certified by the Australasian Bioplastics Association. Products may be made from plants or starch, soy or cellulose-based plastics.

Certified home compostable plastics (with the logo and code AS5810), such as bin liners, dog waste bags and mail satchels, can break down in healthy home composting systems without harming microbes. Council's food and green waste processor does not accept home compostable plastics. If you can't compost at home, they belong in the garbage bin.

Certified commercially compostable plastics (with the logo and code AS4736) do not break down naturally and require specific conditions to process their breakdown. Except for certified lime green caddy liners, Council's food and green waste processor does not accept commercially compostable plastics. They belong in the garbage bin.

Certified commercially compostable packaging does not break down naturally and requires specific processes to be broken down. Council's food and green waste processor does not accept compostable plastics, so if you can’t compost at home, they belong in the garbage bin.

To find out how to dispose of plastics and other household items, view the A to Z waste and recycling guide.

Additional resources

Wherever you're at on your plastic-free journey, get inspired to choose reusable or recyclable products and say no to single-use plastic items with these great resources:


The City of Stonnington expects full compliance with the Policy. However, blanket exemptions (where no formal request is required) apply where:

  • single-use plastic is needed to meet Food Safety or Occupational Health and Safety Standards, such as plastic gloves
  • single-use plastic items are essential for accessibility requirements, such as plastic straws and cutlery on request, and plastic pouches for delivered meals
  • there are no packaging alternatives for large new items, such as computers, furniture and batteries
  • there is an emergency event, such as a heatwave, or if COVID-19 restrictions and regulations mandate their use.

Upon request, conditional exemptions may be granted based on one or more of the following criteria.

  • The impact of policy compliance has a significant financial impact on tenants, event organisers (for non-Council run events), not-for-profit groups or individuals.
  • Adjustments to exclude single-use plastics cannot be made because of lease agreements, permit conditions or contracts already in place before the start of the Policy.
  • Items are captured at targeted government waste collection initiatives such as the Container Deposit Scheme.
  • No other practical alternative product or distribution method is available.

Apply for an exemption

If you meet any of the criteria above, you can submit a request for exemption.

Request a Plastic Free Policy exemption