From 1 November 2019, light-weight plastic shopping bags will be banned in Victoria!
Why is the plastic ban bag being introduced?
The impacts of plastic pollution on our environment and especially on our marine life are a very real concern to the Victorian Government and the community.
It is estimated that close to one billion light-weight plastic shopping bags are used in Victoria each year.
While the majority of these bags end up in landfill, around 16 million plastic shopping bags end up in the environment in Victoria each year. This is equivalent in weight to 96 small cars.
When plastic shopping bags get into waterways and the marine environment, animals such as sea turtles and sea birds can swallow or become entangled in them.
As well as their environmental impacts, littered plastic shopping bags are unsightly, can clog up infrastructure, and are difficult and costly to clean up.
Which bags will be banned?
The ban applies to light-weight plastic shopping bags thinner than 35 microns or 0.035 millimetres
This includes compostable, degradable and biodegradable bags as they break down in the environment in the same way as conventional plastic shopping bags and still cause harm to the environment and wildlife
See bottom of page for which bags are included in the ban and what’s not
When will the ban start and who does it apply to?
The ban will begin 1 November 2019 and will apply to all retail businesses including market-stall holders and organisations which supply plastic shopping bags
The ban applies to in-store and online sales
What retailers can do
Check with your plastic bag supplier if you are unsure if the bags you have purchased are over 35 microns in thickness. If asked, the supplier should provide you with written proof of the minimum thickness of your bags in microns
Provide consumers with alternatives such as reusable "green" bags, reusable "hessian" bags, reusable freezer or "cold" bags, or heavy-duty plastic bags designed for reuse or multiple uses
Put posters up in your store to let customers know of the plastic bag ban and alternatives. Download yours here
Will penalties apply to retailers who continue to supply banned bags?
Yes. A retailer who is found to be supplying the banned bags after 1 November 2019 may be liable for fines from authorities
What shoppers can do
Take your reusable bags when you go shopping
Keep a reusable shopping bag in your car, bag or by your front door so you are always prepared
While it is up to retailers to determine how they can manage excess supplies (for example, sharing them with other retailers to run down their stocks) it is very important that they do not dump them from 1 November 2019.