Lightweight, single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned in Western Australia from July 1 next year.
The statewide ban will bring Western Australia into line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory which already have plastic bag bans in place. Queensland has also vowed to ban the bag from July 1, 2018.
Plastic bags make up a relatively small portion of solid waste and litter but can significantly harm marine wildlife and birds which can inadvertently eat or become entangled in plastic bag waste.
The WA government said its plastic bag ban has garnered widespread support across the local government sector in recent months and among major retailers which are some of the biggest suppliers of plastic shopping bags.
Major supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and IGA have indicated their intention to ban single-use plastic bags while some WA retailers – including Aldi and Bunnings – already support the ban by not offering single-use plastic bags to their customers.
“The community and the retail industry have already been working to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bags for more than a decade,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.
“The number of plastic bags used every year continues to grow and therefore it’s time for the State Government to act, in the absence of a national approach.
“There are alternatives to single-use plastics and we need to move beyond single-use items and promote sustainable futures for our children.”
“We will continue our efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated, prevent littering, increase material recovered from the waste stream, and reduce waste destined for landfill,” said Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.