Plastic bag ban Australia

The phase-out of light plastic bags across is not uniform across Australia as the policy and process are not implemented at the national level. Each state or territory has their own timeline and policies in place for regulating the use of plastic carrier bags. 


Figure 1: The status of bag ban in Australia 

Why plastic bag ban is implemented in some states in Australia? 

Greenpeace analyzed and found that Australians are using 9.7 billion single-use plastic bag every year. Continuing at this rate, by 2050 there will be 12000 tons, of landfill waste or trash in the environment by 2050 (Greenpeace Australia, 2017). The New South Wales Environment Protection Agency estimated that 75% of this number comes from supermarkets all over Australia (NSW EPA, 2016). The rest come from fast food outlets, liquor stores, convenience stores and retailers. 

How the Australian plastic shopping bag bag is in 2021? 

New South Wales 

The plastic shopping bag ban in the most populous state is still in discussion. It is expected to occur in 2021. The NSW Government has announced the intention to ban plastic shopping bag likely in 2021 but has yet to confirmed the date. 


The bag ban in the second most populous state was introduced in 1 November 2019. The Victorian Government implemented a ban on all lightweight plastic shopping bags with thickness of 35 microns and below. The ban also applies to degradable, biodegradable and compostable material bags. 


Introduced the bag ban on 1 July 2018, the Queensland government placed regulations on bags of 35 microns or less thickness that are made of conventional plastic, degradable, bio-degradable or compostable material. 

Western Australia 

In July 2018, the plastic shopping bag ban is in effect in Western Australia. The government of Western Australia introduced a ban on lightweight plastic bag that is of thickness 35 microns or less. These include degradable, biodegradable and compostable material bags. 

Retailers in Western Australia had 6 months to phase out their remaining stocks. From 01/01/2019, the fines will be applied to non-complaint retailers. 

South Australia 

In 2009, South Australia was the first state to introduce the plastic bag ban in Australia. The South Australian Government bans bags of 35 microns thickness or less. But it does not include biodegradable bags. 

Northern Territory 

In September2011, Northern Territory introduced the ban on bags of 35 microns thickness or less, including degradable bags. The ban does not apply to biodegradable bags. 


Tasmanian Government placed in effect the bag ban in November 2013 on bags of less than 35 microns thickness. The ban does not apply to biodegradable or compostable bags. 


ACT government introduced a ban on plastic bags of less than 35 microns thick in November 2011. The ban does not apply to biodegradable bags. 


Greenpeace Australia. (2017, 09 25). Greenpeace Australia Blog. Retrieved from Greenpeace Australia: 

National Retail Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from 

NSW EPA. (2016). Plastic shopping bags Options paper – Practical actions for plastic shopping bags. State of NSW and Environment Protection Authority. 


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