The Queensland Government has passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 which will forbid retailers from providing or selling lightweight plastic bags (known as single-use singlet bags) from 1 July 2018.
To ensure consistency for the retail sector, Queensland will adopt a similar law to South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
However, unlike other jurisdictions, biodegradable bags are included in the ban in Queensland, as these bags still pose a risk to aquatic animals, a critical part of Queensland’s marine ecosystem and tourism industry.
The ban will apply to lightweight plastic bags, less than 35 microns thick, with handles (‘singlet’ bags) including those deemed biodegradable, degradable or compostable.
The regulation will apply to all retailers – including supermarkets, convenience stores, take-away food stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and other retail businesses.
The ban will not apply to the following bags:
- barrier bags (typically fruit and vegetable and deli-style bags without handles)
- woven or fabric bags (like ‘green’ bags)
- heavier-weight plastic bags (like those used by department stores)
- bags that are integral to a product’s packaging (such as a bread bag)
- kitchen tidy bags.
Penalties also apply for providing misleading information about bag compliance, applicable to any person or supplier.
To ensure that all retailers are on an even playing field in regards to the ban, and that real change is accomplished, fines will apply after 1 July 2018. The fines could be up to $6,095.00 per offence and higher for any person that provides misleading information (this also applies to bag suppliers).
In addition, retailers who ignore the bag ban may suffer consumer or media criticism that could affect your business. Shoppers may also choose to shop elsewhere if you ignore the ban or mismanage the transition.
The National Retail Association has partnered with the Queensland Government to help retailers navigate the new compliance issues, find alternative bag solutions, and to help retailers manage consumer sentiment to minimise negative impacts on their businesses.
To find out more information on the ban including what support is available to you, click here to visit the Qld Bag Ban website.