Victorian retailers are being urged by industry bodies to prepare themselves for the statewide plastic bag ban which will come into effect from November. 

The new law will apply to all retailers regardless of size and sees a ban on all lightweight plastic shopping bags which have a thickness below 36 microns, including degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags.

To help retailers prepare for the ban, the National Retail Association (NRA) has partnered with the Victorian Government to educate retailers on the transition. 

NRA manager of policy David Stout said that the earlier retailers can move away from lightweight plastic bags, the better it will be for their business. 

"Retailers should start to make the transition as soon as possible to avoid last minute decisions that may be costly and inconvenient for both their business and their customers.

"All businesses currently using plastic shopping bags face important business decisions over the next few months.

"For many businesses, giving a free plastic bag to every customer incurs substantial cost and current sentiment presents an opportunity to reconsider that habit.

"There is a wide range of alternatives out there now, and each choice could either increase or reduce business costs, not to mention impact on consumer perception of their business.

"Retailers and suppliers who do not comply with face penalties and risk disrupting their business and upsetting customers if they fail to prepare for the transition.

"Retail businesses have until November to use up their existing stocks of lightweight plastic shopping bags," he said. 

The NRA will be visiting shopping precincts in the Gippsland/Latrobe area of Victoria in the coming week. 

The NRA will be visiting shopping precincts in the local area on the following dates:
• Tuesday the 27th of August – Bairnsdale
• Wednesday the 28th of August – Sale / Morwell
• Thursday the 29th of August – Traralgon / Warragul

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