Victoria bans single-use bags

Victoria is bidding adieu to lightweight, single-use plastic shopping bags with a ban to be introduced state-wide in November.

The state government introduced new legislation to parliament on Wednesday to ban bags at retail outlets including supermarkets, fashion boutiques, fast food outlets, convenience stores and service stations.

The ban will target lightweight plastic bags with a thickness of 35 microns including those made from degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic.

The legislation will ensure all single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less will be banned, including bags made from degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic.

The legislative changes follow community consultation, which revealed “overwhelming” support for the ban.

“Plastic pollution is a significant environmental problem – the actions we take now will help ensure Victoria has a clean and bright future,” Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio said on Wednesday.

“The feedback on this one was clear. Victorians want to do more to protect the environment from the damage litter causes and are overwhelmingly supportive of banning single-use plastic shopping bags.”

The government is working with the National Retailers Association to ensure businesses are prepared for the ban and have access to sustainable packaging alternatives.

Single-use plastic bags have already been banned by governments in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and NT.

Coles revealed on Wednesday that it has saved 1.7 billion lightweight single-use plastic bags from landfill since the ban came into place last July.

Woolworths said it has issued around three billion fewer plastic bags from its stores over the last 12 months, equating to a 4,700 tonne reduction in single-use plastics going into the environment over the course of the year.

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