WA | Light-weight plastic shopping bag phase-out

Published 29 May 2018

WA | Light-weight shopping bag phase-out begins 1 July 2018

Are you ready for the ban on light-weight plastic shopping bags that will commence in WA on 1 July? 

The ban is an election commitment of the McGowan Government and will apply to all plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness.  These are the standard shopping bags you currently see at most shops. The Government is currently considering public feedback, received via a Discussion Paper, to fine tune the introduction of the ban. The ban will be enacted through new regulations under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Well done if you are already using reusable shopping bags, whether they are the heavy duty green, hessian, or other types of bags. 

Interestingly, the ban, as currently proposed, follows similar bans in most other states and does not cover bags greater than 35 microns in thickness. Shops will still be able to supply or sell thicker, glossy plastic bags >35 microns that you may already see in other shops, such as clothing shops. This likely move to thicker bags has been one of the unfortunate outcomes of similar bans in most other states. In the Northern Territory, where a 35-micron bag ban has been in place since 2011, there is also concern that the ban has not reduced the amount of plastic bag littering.

The ban on plastic bags is a great example of the need to follow-up regulation with effective, long-term public education campaigns to change behaviours.  The key marketing messages are: reduce use of single-use plastics, use re-useable bags to do your shopping, keep some in your car, and don’t litter.

Overall, the WA Government is to be congratulated on this positive move towards a more sustainable future.

Article by Andrew Del Marco (EIANZ WA Vice President)