The National Retail Association of Australia has made a summary of the plastic bag ban in different states of Australia. The Oceania country is turning its back to lightweight plastic shopping bags. Please note the bag ban is merely on shopping bags for the supermarket. It doesn’t include food packaging bags and trash bags.
Reusable bags are encourage for shopping such as cotton bags, non-woven bags and pp woven bags.
NEW SOUTH WALES
NSW post no ban on plastic bags. Even the lightweight plastic bags. As of now (May 2020), retailers can use any type of plastic bag in NSW.
On 1 November, the Victorian Government introduced a state-wide ban on all lightweight plastic shopping bags which have a thickness of 35 microns or less. The banned bags also include degradable, biodegradable, and compostable bags. EPA Victoria is managing compliance monitoring and reports of suspected banned bags.
On 1 July 2018, the Queensland Government introduced a ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns thick, including degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags.
In July 2018, the Western Australian Government introduced a ban on lightweight plastic bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less, including degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags. WA retailers had 6 months to phase out existing stock with fines applicable from 1 January 2019.
In 2009, South Australia lead the way by introducing a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic bags less than 35 microns thick. The ban does not include biodegradable bags. This makes SA the only states allowing thin biodegradable bags in use.
In September 2011, the Northern Territory introduced a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic bags with a thickness less than 35 microns including degradable bags. The ban does not include biodegradable bags.
In November 2013, the Tasmanian Government introduced a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic bags less than 35 microns thick. The ban does not include biodegradable or compostable plastic bags.
In November 2011, the ACT Government introduced a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic bags less than 35 microns thick. The ban does not include biodegradable bags.
In most states of Australia you can not sell biodegradable or compostable bags for shopping purposes. You can only do it in NSW, Southern Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, and ACT.
What about food packaging bags and garbage bags? These bags are not included in the plastic ban and consumers can still use it without concern.
Controversy With Bag Ban in Australia
Coles says the move has already saved 1.7 billion single-use bags from ending up in landfills, but new research is casting doubt on whether the ban is doing more harm than good. The study suggests Australia’s plastic bag ban actually contributes to the world’s waste crisis, with ‘reusable’ bags taking longer to break down and alternatives faring no better. Before the bag shoppers’ behavior was more ‘green’, because thin plastic bags were often reused as bin liners, to pick up dog poo or to carry things.