Retailers urged to prepare for QLD plastic bag ban

With less than 50 days until the Queensland plastic bag ban comes into effect, the state government has reminded retailers to be prepared.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said Queenslanders use almost one billion plastic shopping bags each year.

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“This figure is astonishing. If you laid out all of these bags, end to end, they would reach from Coolangatta to the top of Cape York more than 160 times,” Ms Enoch said.

“And sadly about 16 million plastic bags end up in our environment every year.

“The ban will also help keep our state beautiful for generations to come and reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our treasured environment and wildlife.”

The Queensland Government is aiming to reduce the amount of single-use plastic items in an effort to tackle plastic pollution.

From 1 July, retailers will no longer be able to supply single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness to customers, for free or at a charge.

Ms Enoch said it was pleasing to see some retailers already replacing plastic shopping bags in preparation of the ban.

“It’s also an important time for households to starting planning of how they can use reusable shopping bags when visiting the shops.

“Most household are likely to already have alternative bags they can use such as reusable ‘green’ bags or bags they use every day, like a backpack. Make sure you take them with you when you go shopping or to collect a takeaway, and keep them by the front door, in your car or in your bag.

“Regardless of which reusable shopping bags you use, to maximise the environmental benefit it’s very important that you use them over and over again and recycle them at their end-of-life, where possible,” Ms Enoch said.

The plastic bag ban applies to all retailers which supply single-use light weight plastic shopping bags.

Retailers that continue to supply banned bags after 1 July could face a fine of up to $6,300 per offence. A similar fine also applies to any person, such as a supplier, who provides misleading information about banned bags.