The Western Australia Government has started the implementation of ban regulations on the lightweight plastic bag to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment and marine life.


Image: Plastic bags. Photo: courtesy of jesse braun/

Announcing the ban at The Market Place Ballajura IGA today, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said taking lightweight plastic bags out of circulation had strong community support and was a significant win for the environment.

The State-wide ban will bring Western Australia into line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory which already have similar bans in place. Queensland’s ban also starts today and Victoria has announced its intention to ban lightweight plastic bags from the end of 2019.

The ban applies to all retailers currently supplying lightweight plastic bags with handles – 35 microns thick or less. These bags are commonly provided by supermarkets, restaurants and other retail stores.

It includes degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic bags because these also breakdown in the environment and pose a threat to wildlife.

Plastic bags make up a relatively small portion of solid waste and litter in WA but can have significant impacts on marine wildlife and birds, which may eat them or become entangled in plastic bag waste.

WA’s plastic bag ban has widespread support across the community, local governments and major retailers which are big users of plastic shopping bags.

The major supermarkets have all indicated their intention to stop supplying lightweight plastic bags from today.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

“Today marks a significant milestone in Western Australia to reduce the impacts of lightweight plastic on our environment.

“Studies have shown significant damage caused by plastic pollution – seabirds have been found with their digestive tracts filled with plastic fragments and turtles can confuse plastic bags with jellyfish.

“We will continue our efforts – under Western Australia’s Waste Strategy – to reduce the amount of waste generated, prevent littering, increase material recovered from the waste stream, and reduce waste destined for landfill.

“Banning lightweight plastic bags is a significant step in the right direction.

“Retailers will have until December 31, 2018 to phase out their existing stocks of banned bags.  I encourage all retailers to move to alternatives as quickly as possible to align with national initiatives and community sentiment.”

Source: Company Press Release