Bring your own (BYO) containers

Information for food businesses 

In July 2022, the South Australia Civil Liability Act 1936 was changed to remove liability from food businesses such as café’s, restaurants and supermarkets when packaging and selling food to a customer in their own container. This immunity extends to all employees selling the food.

Why were there changes to the Act?

The changes are part of the Single Use Plastics waste reduction initiative in South Australia. Single use plastics contribute to a large proportion of our waste.  It pollutes our environment by contaminating our food and water, and it harms wildlife. They are often used for a short time and generate waste that is difficult to recycle and costly to clean up.

What are the exceptions?

Businesses are still liable if the person selling the food was negligent and sold food that was knowingly unsafe to eat, or the food was subjected to a food recall at the time of sale.

Do I have to accept BYO containers from customers?

No, food businesses can choose if they will accept consumers BYO containers. The new changes provide better protection for business that choose to accept consumers BYO containers.

Tips for businesses

If BYO reusable containers are supplied to your business, check they are clean.

If you receive an unclean BYO reusable container, it’s considered reasonable to refuse the customer’s container.

By allowing dirty containers into your business, you are not just adding a risk to the person eating from the cup/container, but also to any other customers who visit your business. Cross-contamination from these dirty products in your business poses a food safety risk and has the potential to lead to the spread of harmful germs.

Tips for consumers  

Ensure your containers are clean, by washing them in soapy hot water, rinsing and drying thoroughly. Make sure the containers are closed during storage and transport, so they do not get contaminated and take any perishable food home straight away in a cooler bag (with ice brick if a long distance).