Plastic pollution is an urgent environmental problem, with plastic bags known to cause significant harm to our oceans and waterways in particular.
In the past, Australians have used up to 10 million plastic bags every day - equating to 4 billion every year. Of these, approximately 150 million end up in our oceans and waterways.
Plastic bag ban
All Victorian retailers are banned from selling or supplying lightweight plastic shopping bags.
The ban is designed to reduce the impact of plastic pollution and the amount of waste going to landfill while strengthening Victoria’s recycling industry.
The ban applies to all lightweight plastic shopping bags with handles that have a thickness of 35 microns or less, including degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags.
An example of this is the light grey plastic shopping bags previously available for free at Coles and Woolworths supermarket check-outs.
Reporting plastic bag use
The plastic bag ban will be enforced by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria and supported by community reporting mechanisms. Non-compliant retailers can be reported to the EPA by calling 1300 372 842 or via email at [email protected].
Plastic bag alternatives
Reusable bags should be used whenever possible. Look for well-made canvas, string or fabric bags to make sure they will last and reduce plastic waste and pollution.
Make a reusable bag an everyday essential - just like your wallet, keys and phone - and support local retailers with the ban transition.
Recycling plastic bags
You can recycle your plastic bags at Coles/Woolworths via the REDcycle flexible/soft plastics recycling program.
Please do not put plastic bags in your recycling bin.
The State Government plans to ban more single-use plastic items in the coming years.
We advise residents to start refusing single-use plastics wherever you can and opting for items such as reusable produce bags, coffee cups, food containers and drink bottles.
Residents are encouraged to ensure they remember to bring their reusable bags when shopping to support our local retailers.
For more information, visit:
- our A to Z recycling and waste guide to learn about the best way to deal with unwanted items
- Sustainability Victoria to learn about their Better Bag Habits campaign
- Vic Bag Ban for a closer look at the new plastic bag legislation
- EPA Victoria for more information on the bag ban and other state-wide environmental initiatives.