Fines for Western Australia plastic bag ban in action

The WA State Government has implemented its state-wide plastic bag ban as of 1 January, dishing out fines of up to $5,000 for retailers.

The ban also incorporates biodegradable, degradable or compostable bags, as long as there are handles and a thickness of 35 microns or less.

Acting WA Environment Minister Simone McGurk said the ban is making significant environmental improvements, with reusable bags leading the change.

“Since July 1, 2018, we have stopped around 225 million lightweight plastic bags ending up in landfill–or worse still–in our oceans,” Minister McGurk said.

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The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is partnering with the National Retail Association to assist in educating both the public and retailers on how the ban will work.

Small businesses were given six months to prepare for the change, however that grace period ended with the new year.

“Be prepared–always have your reusable bangs on hand… whether you’re picking up milk from the deli, bread from the bakery or takeaway food from your favourite restaurant,” Minister McGurk said.

Penalties extend to plastic bag suppliers and manufacturers who will face similar fines to retailers if found to be misleading clients about their products.

The National Retail Association will follow-up on all complaints submitted to their website; where retailers and the public are encouraged to report those supplying lightweight plastic bags.