From 1 November 2019 retailers and businesses in Victoria will no longer be able to supply lightweight plastic bags to customers, so people are being reminded to carry reusable bags with them when they are out and about.
This move by the State Government is to reduce the impact of plastic on the Victorian environment. Although plastic is lightweight and low cost, it doesn’t go away; it breaks into many pieces, ends up in landfill or as litter and can cause long term harm to the environment and wildlife.
To minimise confusion and impact, the bag ban will apply to lightweight shopping bags made of all types of plastic (including degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics).
The ban includes but is not limited to supermarkets, pharmacies, greengrocers, cafes, restaurants, takeaway food outlets and clothing stores.
Why is the State Government banning lightweight plastic bags?
An estimated 10 million bags become litter each year. They can end up in our waterways, lakes and oceans, posing a significant hazard to our marine wildlife.
Like other plastic items, plastic bags in the environment break up into smaller and smaller pieces over time. This means that the impacts of plastic litter are long term and become increasingly difficult to manage. Plastic bags are also a significant source of contamination in our kerbside recycling system.
What bags should I use now?
Look for well-made canvas, string or fabric bags to make sure they will really last and reduce plastic waste and pollution.
Make a reusable bag an essential in your day – just like your wallet, keys and phone!
With better bag habits, remembering your reusable bags will become second nature. Before you leave home, remember ‘Bag, wallet, keys and phone.'
Here's some tips to help remember to use reusable bags:
- Stash your bags at home, in the car and at work so you are always ready to shop
- Green, canvas, hessian and lightweight nylon bags are widely available from major supermarkets, homewares stores and online retailers
- Foldable bags are very compact and fit easily in a pocket, in your handbag or backpack
- Most stores and supermarkets also offer alternatives at the checkout for a small fee, including cloth and string bags if you've forgotten to bring your own.
Source: Sustainability Victoria