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QLD Retailers: Are you prepared for the Bag Ban?

August 12, 2017

The Queensland Bag Ban Legislation

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 the following bags:

  • lightweight plastic bags, less than 35 microns thick, with handles (‘singlet’ bags) and
  • biodegradable singlet-style bags.

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 department store bags
  • bags that are integral to a product’s packaging (such as a bread bag)
  • kitchen tidy bags.

Ban the Bag: 1 July 2018

After extensive consultation with the retail industry, environment groups and other stakeholders over the past three years, the Queensland plastic bag ban come into effect on 1 July 2018.

This provides adequate time for retailers to prepare, and for the Queensland government to educate customers on the impending ban.

The NRA recommends that retailers spend the next few months preparing for the ban – finding out what it means for your business through local workshops, weighing up alternatives, changing supply processes, and notifying your team. From April 2018, it’s time to start making the transition – stop ordering banned bags, start displaying notices to educate customers and use the NRA’s training kits to thoroughly prepare team members. Read more on Managing the Ban >>

Retailers will not be allowed to provide any banned bags from 1 July 2018 and fines will apply from this date.

Penalties for not complying

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 $6095 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.

NRA Support

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.

All retailers who currently use some form of lightweight plastic bag will need to prepare for and manage their transition to an alternative. Go to Managing the Ban >>

From July to December 2017, the NRA will be visiting over 90 locations across Queensland to provide advice and information to retailers. Find a workshop near you >>

The NRA will also be providing useful resources, training kits and tools to assist retailers in preparing for and managing the ban. View the resources here >>


If you have any questions about the ban, please call the NRA’s Plastic Bag Hotline at 1800 RETAIL (1800 738 245) or email qldbagban@nra.net.au


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