Daily Life

No more plastic bags: The Woolworths plastic bag ban starts tomorrow and here's what you need to know

Woolworths says the plastic bag ban in more than 800 shops across Australia will stop 3.2 billion bags polluting our environment.

By Holly Royce
Better start unloading those green bags from your car boot because tomorrow- June 20th, it's the beginning of the end for plastic bags in Australia.
Good riddance, we say.
The Woolworths plastic bag ban will go into effect tomorrow, with other supermarket giants including Coles, following their lead.
Woolworths says the plastic bag ban in more than 800 shops across Australia will stop 3.2 billion bags polluting our environment.
And it's not just Woolies that's ditching plastic bags, read on for everything you need to know about the almost complete nation wide ban on plastic bag.

When will the plastic bag ban start?

Back in November last year, the Queensland government said it would not wait for Victoria and NSW to come on board as it decided to forge ahead with plans to ban single-use plastic bags.
From July 1, 2018, single-use plastic bags will be banned in Queensland AND Western Australia
They follow similar bans already in place in South Australia, ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania.
Victoria has previously announced it will ban plastic bags but no start date has been announced.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian maintains there is no reason for NSW to introduce a ban when the supermarkets are handling the situation.
As stated above, from June 20th Woolworths and other retailers will no longer be offering plastic bags.

What type of plastic bags are included in the state wide bans?

Plastic bags that are included in state wide bans include:
  • Single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness (like the ones Woolies are banning)
  • HDPE lightweight plastic bags
Plastic bags that are not included in the ban:
  • Barrier bags for unpacking perishable food (fruit, vegetables and fish).
  • Bin liners and garbage bags are still allowed
  • Plastic nappy bags
  • Dog poo bags

Why should plastic bags be banned?

Here some quick facts you can't stick in a bag under the sink:
  • 200,000 plastic bags are dumped in landfill every hour and only 3% are recycled.
  • Plastic bags are used on average for 12-minutes but can take up to 1000 years to decompose.
According to the Ocean Conservancy, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year.
If that sounds like a lot, it's because it is. Visualise an entire garbage truck being emptied into the ocean every minute, that's what we're dealing with at the moment.

What happens if I forget my reusable bag?

If you forget your reusable bag, you'll have the option of purchasing a reusable bag from the store.
Woolworths will have on offer: 15 cent thick plastic bags, 99 cent foldable bag and a $2.49 cold bag.
Coles will have a similar set of bags on offer, with both 15 cent and $1 types on hand.
Image credit: The Surfrider Foundation