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Why the ban was 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.

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

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

The Queensland Government has taken 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.

Watch the video below to learn more about the plastic bag ban story.

Video transcript

[Voice over]

Did you know close to 1 billion single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland each year.

That's a lot of bags!

Up to 16 million of these bags end up as litter.

That's about 96 tonnes just in Queensland alone, the equivalent in weight of about 96 average small cars.

That's a lot of litter!

For retailers and consumers, plastic shopping bags are convenient.

But plastic bags have a big impact on our environment and pose a significant threat to our marine wildlife, which can mistake bags for floating jellyfish.

Millions of dollars are spent each year in litter cleanup costs.

Experts rate plastic bags as one of the top marine debris threats to wildlife.

Marine wildlife can swallow or become entangled in bags causing injury or death.

Research found that 90 percent of all seabird species and 30 percent of all sea turtles had ingested plastic debris.

And biodegradable bags are just as harmful.

The harmful impact of plastic pollution is a concern to Queenslanders.

During the public consultation on the lightweight plastic shopping bag ban, the government received more than 26,000 submissions!

Over 96 percent of Queenslanders supported implementation of the ban.

63 percent of Queenslanders supported banning biodegradable plastic shopping bags.

And we know from bans in other Australian states and territories, that customers are ready and willing to make the change to reusable bags.

What is the government doing?

As part of its plastic pollution reduction plan, the government is introducing a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags.

Including biodegradable bags from the 1st of July 2018.

Some major supermarkets have already committed to stop supplying lightweight plastic shopping bags.

Key points.

The ban will begin on the 1st of July 2018.

From this date, retailers will not be allowed to supply lightweight plastic shopping bags to customers.

The ban will only apply to lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags.

Barrier bags, dog poo bags and bin liners will not be banned.

Tackling plastic pollution one step at a time

As well as the plastic shopping bag ban and the introduction of a container refund scheme, the Queensland Government is developing a plan to identify and prioritise actions, partnerships and timeframes to reduce plastic pollution in our state. The Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan will link with existing plans and programs at the state and national level.

The Queensland Government also continues to target litterers and needs the community’s support. If you see someone littering from a vehicle or vessel please report it to the department via our online reporting page.

We all love Queensland, let’s keep it clean.

Compliance and reporting

    If you believe you may have been supplied with a banned plastic bag, visit the National Retail Association's website or contact the National Retail Association's Retail Hotline on 1800 RETAIL (738 245) to report this.

WASTE NOTes

To stay up to date on Queensland’s latest waste and recycling policies and news please subscribe to the WASTE NOTes Bulletin.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
1 August 2018
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