Victoria’s plastic bag ban to come into effect November 1

Victoria’s single-use plastic bag ban to come into effect November 1.jpg

The Victorian Government has moved to ban all single-use plastic bags from retail outlets, including supermarkets, fashion boutiques, fast-food outlets, convenience stores and service stations from November 1.

The new legislation introduced to Parliament by the Andrews Labor Government on June 19 will ensure all single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less will be banned.

The ban also includes bags made from degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic.

However, plastic bin liners, clear plastic bags used for fresh fruit and vegetables, and animal waste bags will still be allowed.

Minister for Environment Lily D'Ambrosio said the ban is a key step in tackling Victoria’s plastic pollution problem, and will help protect the State’s rivers, waterways, oceans and wildlife.

“Victorians use more than a billion of these bags each and every year,” Ms D’Ambrosio said. “More than 10 million of these end up as litter in our environment. We know that’s not good enough.”

Ms D’Ambrosio went on to applaud Victorians’ support of the single-use plastic shopping bag ban.

“The feedback on this one was clear. Victorians want to do more to protect the environment from the damage litter causes and are overwhelmingly supportive of banning single-use plastic shopping bags.”

“Plastic pollution is a significant environmental problem,” Ms D’Ambrosio said. “The actions we take now will help ensure Victoria has a clean and bright future.”

Plastic pollution is reportedly causing significant damage to Victorian waterways, with research showing that an estimated 828 million items of rubbish flows into Port Phillip Bay from the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers each year. Nearly three quarters of which is microplastics.

Victoria is one of the last states in Australia to introduce a ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags, with single-use plastic bags already been banned in South Australia, Queensland, the ACT and Western Australia.

Environmental association the Boomerang Alliance wants the ban to apply to heavy-duty plastic bags, not just the lightweight, single-use bags, with director Jeff Angel saying there was an “unfinished agenda” on banning the sale of thicker bags.

“[These] are still found in the litter stream and landfills,” Mr Angel said. “Secondly there’s a lot of evidence that they’re not being reused. We’re still wasting a lot of plastic.”

For more information on the banning of lightweight, single-use plastic shopping bags, click here.