Historic opportunity to ban plastic bags in Australia!



So what is happening?

After many years campaigning, a ban on plastic bags is on the agenda at the Environment Ministers meeting on Friday 25 November 2016.  It is time for action on plastic bags - once and for all.

Plastic Bag Free groups have been running local actions and collecting thousands of supporters.  In 2012 Plastic Bag Free NSW volunteers have collected 12,472 signatures on a petition asking the NSW government to introduce a ban on lightweight plastic bags. On the 4th June 2015 the Plastic Bag Ban petition was presented to Bruce Notley-Smith (Member for Coogee) at NSW Parliament House; and Bruce triggered a parliamentary debate for 13 August 2015.  Plastic Bag Free Victoria presented in August 2016, thousands of names to their Parliament and the Vic Greens have lodged a bill to ban the bag and other damaging plastics.

Importantly the Qld government will be issuing a Discussion Paper on a bag ban soon in 2016.  We are lobbying for other states to join in.

A July 2015 Omnipoll revealed 63% of Australians (and also grocery buyers) support a ban on single use plastic bags from supermarkets and stores. 81% support the existing ban in South Australia showing public support grows once a ban comes into effect.

We have provided all state and federal environment ministers with the facts and a detailed policy position. While previous states such as SA and NT have banned plastic bags they created a major loophole by allowing so-called biodegradable bags - but these simply break up into small pieces (microplastics) and contain heavy metals.  They need to be banned too. 

Will our governments act on 25/11/16?  Tell them you support a ban on single-use plastic bags.

What can you do?

  • Encourage your environment minister to support an effective ban, including the greenspin biodegradable ones:

         - NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman ([email protected] or (02) 8574 6390

         - Vic Environment Minister, Lily D'ambrosio (lily.d'[email protected]) or (03) 8392 2100

         - WA Environment Minister, Albert Jacob ([email protected]) or (08) 6552 5800

         - Qld Environment Minister, Steven Miles ([email protected]) or (07) 3719 7330

  • Spread the word.

The Plastic Bag Free NSW coalition has sensibly examined transitional issues and proposed:

  • A comprehensive education program and structured transitional period.

  • There can be exceptions on the use of ‘barrier bag’ style plastic bags at relevant retailers as there are issues associated with the sale and transport of perishable foods (e.g. meat, fish)

  • Sale of plastic bag bin liners may increase (as has occurred in other states with bans) PBFNSW have limited concern about the increase in the sale of plastic bag bin liners as they are highly unlikely to become litter. PBFNSW would support access to reduced cost 100% compostable bin liners and investigation and education about other alternatives.

  • The ban should extend to takeaway food outlets and smaller retail stores. Research highlights that such stores are a significant source of plastic bag litter as plastic bags are used for a short timeframe and for limited items.

  • Effective evaluation and monitoring must be implemented alongside the ban with scope to modify and extend the ban if necessary.

  • The increase in the use of heavy gauge ‘reusable’ plastic bags by retailers must accompany effective recycling programs allowing consumers to thoughtfully dispose of bags at the end of their life.

To know more: read our fact sheet about plastic bags.


Showing 5 reactions

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  • Charles Gream
    commented 2016-11-21 21:25:26 +1100
    Plastic bags are visible in every waterway where I live. They are the ones caught by vegetation in the riparian zones. They are not the ones that are underwater or have moved downstream to other places including Georges River. Plastic bags are also visible in our open spaces and built areas too. I support an effective ban on them.
  • Kayscha Corcoran
    commented 2016-11-17 08:15:11 +1100
    If Ireland can do it, any country can. It’s time to stop the use of single use plastic and take a step towards a healthier environment for us all.
  • Pia Jay
    commented 2016-11-15 17:34:29 +1100
    South Australia has done it and there are no dramas. I run a volunteer rubbish collecting group and we’re constantly collecting these dreaded things (out of culverts, trees, bushes – everywhere). If you want to collect rubbish whilst going for a walk on the beach you only have to pick up one of these water filled baddies out of the ocean to start putting the rubbish in! How about doing something about a container deposit too – we’re decades behind :-(
  • Xavier Le Baron
    commented 2016-11-15 09:03:51 +1100
    I am 1000% behind a total ban on one-use plastics…Let’s follow the French example and make those nasty polluters be history
  • Lisa Wriley
    published this page 2015-08-12 10:53:15 +1000