Western Australia’s (WA) ban on the usage of lightweight plastic shopping bags has come into effect for shoppers and retailers across the state.

4Jan - NRA ban

Image: January 1 marks WA’s New Year’s resolution to bin the plastic bag. Photo: Courtesy of National Retail Association.

The National Retail Association (NRA) has reminded the Western Australian shoppers and retailers to mark 1 January as beginning to the state’s New Year’s resolution to ban the use of plastic bags.

The ban relates to all lightweight plastic shopping bags including degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less. The new laws would affect all retailers like grocery stores, takeaway food, pharmacies, and markets.

The NRA announced that from 1 January 2019, retailers throughout Western Australia will no longer be providing lightweight plastic bags to the customers while shopping in their stores.

NRA manager of industry policy David Stout pointed that consumers across Western Australia need to be prepared for the change as they head to the shops for the first day of 2019.

Stout said: “It’s vital that Western Australians are aware that in just a few days’ time they will no longer be provided with lightweight plastic bags when they go shopping. The bag ban applies to all retailers operating in Western Australia regardless of size or type – ranging from newsagents to food outlets, to pharmacies and petrol stations.”

The Government of Western Australia has passed the Environmental Protection Regulations 2018.

The regulations on usage plastic bags  says that from 1 July 2018 anyone who supplies or manufactures prescribed plastic bags must not give any information that the person knows is false or misleading to another person. Penalty for the violating above law will be a fine of $5000.

The other regulation says from 1 January 2019 any retailer must not supply a plastic bag to any person for the person to carry goods sold by the retailer. Penalty for the above violating above regulation will be a fine of $5000.

As lightweight plastic bags are permanently banned in Western Australia, shoppers need to make alternative arrangements like using reusable bags, to avoid any inconvenience.

Stout said that the NRA and Western Australian government have partnered to assist the retail sector make a smooth transition ahead of the ban.

NRA claims that it has visited thousands of retailers in all parts of the state over the past few months to make the retailers as ready as possible for the banning the plastic bags.

Retailers if fail to abide by with the new laws have to face substantial fines, along with disruptions to their business operations.

The NRA said it will extend its assistance to the retailers with any development issues following the effect of ban to minimize negative impacts on business.