BANS AND REGULATION IN EACH STATE
South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have already introduced bans on plastic bags. Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland have also committed to banning plastic bags by 2018. New South Wales has not yet indicated that a ban will be introduced.
A pioneering state when it comes to the environment, South Australia was the first state to introduce plastic bag bans back in 2009.
Allowed: Compostable bags, along with green bags, heavy retail bags, barrier bags, and paper bags, are not included in the ban.
In 2013, the Tasmanian government introduced legislation banning retailers from providing shoppers with lightweight, single-use plastic bags. Under the legislation, the supply of other plastic bags is not restricted.
Allowed: Compostable bags certified to Australian Standard AS4736, resealable zipper storage bags, heavier plastic bags (above 35 microns), lightweight meat, fruit and vegetable ‘barrier’ bags, paper bags. and plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging.
The Northern Territory ban on single-use plastic bags came into effect on 1 September 2011 after a four-month phase-out.
Allowed: Compostable bags, green bags, heavy retail bags, barrier bags, and paper bags, are not included in the ban.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
The Australian Capital Territory banned plastic bags on 1 November 2011. The ban applies to all retailers in the ACT for single-use, lightweight polyethylene polymer plastic bags that are less than 35 microns in thickness and degradable bags made from plastic.
Allowed: Compostable bags certified to Australian Standard AS4736 and paper bags
The Queensland Government has passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 which will forbid retailers from providing or selling all lightweight plastic bags (known as single-use singlet bags) from 1 July 2018. Unlike other states, in Queensland, the ban also includes all plastic bags less than 35 microns in thickness including compostable bags.
Allowed: Paper bags
Effective July 1, 2018, the Western Australian government has banned all lightweight single-use plastic bags (including compostable bioplastic bags) statewide, bringing the state in line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory which already has plastic bag bans in place.
Allowed: Paper bags
While there’s no legislative ban in place yet, the Victorian government has pledged to ban single-use plastic bags across the state by the end of 2019. Being a late entry to the ‘ban the bag’ movement, Victoria is drawing on experience in other jurisdictions, which shows that banning lightweight plastics ban can lead to undesirable results, including increased use of heavier duty plastics, which can have an even more significant environmental impact. All single-use, lightweight plastic bags are banned, including compostable bioplastic bags.
Allowed: Barrier bags for fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, garbage bags, bin liners, animal waste bags, woven polypropylene bags, hessian (jute) bags
REUSABLES ONLY PROVIDE A BENEFIT IF THEY ARE REUSED
Research by the Canberra government has shown charging for bags reduces use by 80 percent and bag bans lessen the amount of plastic bags in landfill by up to 36 percent (including single-use plastic bags, reusable plastic bags, bin liners and a proportion of reusable woven bags).
However, few reusable bags are used long enough to reach resource-expenditure parity with the
lightweight bags they were meant to supplant. Based on comparative carbon emissions of a plastic singlet bag, reusable bags made from recycled polypropylene plastic used five times as much plastic, and require 26 uses.
Credit : Bio Pak