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Why the ban is being introduced

The impacts of plastic pollution on our environment and especially on our marine life are a very real concern to the Queensland Government and the community.

Plastic bags in particular are of significant concern. When plastic bags get into waterways and marine environment, animals such as sea turtles and sea birds can swallow or become entangled in them. Littered plastic bags are unsightly, can clog up infrastructure, and are difficult and costly to clean up.

The Queensland Government is taking action to protect our unique environment and wildlife through the introduction of a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags on 1 July 2018, and a container refund scheme on 1 November 2018.

The problem with plastic bags

It is estimated that close to one billion single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland each year.

While the majority of these bags end up in landfill, around 16 million lightweight plastic shopping bags enter the environment in Queensland each year.

Restricting the number of plastic shopping bags used in Queensland will contribute to the reduction of the total plastic load in the environment.

In February 2017, a consultation paper (PDF, 1.9MB) seeking feedback from the public on a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags attracted more than 26,000 submissions from individuals, community groups, local governments and retailers. From the responses which were received (PDF, 332.25KB), an overwhelming 96% supported the introduction of a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags by 1 July 2018.

Who does the plastic bag ban apply to?

The plastic shopping bag ban will apply to all retailers in Queensland for in-store and online sales.

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Act 2017 defines a retailer as “a person who sells goods in trade or commerce.” Supermarkets, greengrocers, bakeries, chemists, restaurants and clothes stores as well as market-stall holders and organisations which supply plastic shopping bags are also included in the ban. Penalties may apply to any retailer who does not comply with the legislation.


A plastic shopping bag ban factsheet for retailers and consumers has been developed in the below six languages:

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
20 April 2018
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