Plastic bag ban: what it means for you

From 1st July 2018, it will be against the law for retailers in Queensland to supply customers with single use plastic bags.

The state-wide ban applies to all retailers including supermarkets, take away food outlets, restaurants, pharmacies, butchers and convenience stores.

The ban covers singlet style plastic bags less than 35 microns thick including compostable, degradable and biodegradable bags. Studies show that "biodegradable" bags can take a long time to break down in the environment, causing the same harm to wildlife as conventional plastic bags.

What bags are allowed?

  • Barrier bags without handles such as those used for fruit and vegetables
  • Heavier weight plastic bags like those used by department stores
  • Bags that are integral to product packaging (for example, bread bags)
  • Fabric bags and "green" supermarket bags
  • Paper or cardboard bags
  • Kitchen tidy or bin liner bags

Some retailers have indicated they will use the ban to phase out plastic bags entirely, while others will sell reusable, heavier weight plastic bags.

James Cordwell from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said the ban should help reduce plastic pollution on Queensland beaches and in our waterways.

"On average, eleven items of plastic, can be found along every metre of beach from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast. Plastic pollution is choking and endangering our turtles, marine mammals and birdlife. It fills up their stomachs, reducing the space for food, which often results in starvation" he said.

Hefty fines of more than $6000 can be imposed on retailers that are found in breach of the legislation. A website, QLD Bag Ban, has been set up to assist retailers to manage the transition. The site contains useful resources including signs that can be printed and displayed to advise customers of the change.

What next?

Up to 900 million single-use plastic shopping bags are currently used by Queenslanders every year. If you haven't yet made the transition to reusable shopping bags, it's a good idea to find what works for you before the ban is implemented.

Calico, canvas, or green woven bags, and a range of folding fabric bags are readily available for purchase online or in stores.

Check out some of these sites for inspiration!

Onya LifeHello GreenShop Naturally Boomerang Bags

  1. www.ehp.qld.gov.au/assets/documents/pollution/management/waste/plastic-bag-ban-factsheet.pdf 2. www.ehp.qld.gov.au/assets/documents/pollution/management/waste/plastic-bag-ban-factsheet.pdf

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