About Tasmania's Plastic Bag Ban
Since 2013 retailers in Tasmania are no longer able to supply shoppers with a lightweight plastic shopping bag. The primary aim of the Tasmanian Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2013 is to reduce the number of lightweight plastic shopping bags (less than 35 microns in thickness) in the litter stream and to reduce waste.
Under the legislation, the supply of other plastic bags is not restricted. These include compostable biodegradable plastic bags consistent with Australian Standard 4736, re-sealable zipper storage bags, heavier plastic bags (typically used by clothing and department stores), lightweight meat, fruit and vegetable 'barrier' bags and plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging (eg bread, frozen foods or ice bags).
Retailer Information and Material
Fines will be applied to retailers who either sell or give away the banned plastic bags to customers to carry their goods from the retail outlet. Under the legislation, the onus remains with the retailer to source compliant bags, and to ensure that their product meets the standards set out by the law. Retailers need to be sure that no part of any plastic shopping bag they provide is less than 35 microns in thickness. Local plastic bag suppliers are available to help retailers source suitable bags.
Retail staff can remind customers that the plastic bag legislation has been applied to all retailers in Tasmania. They may wish to remind customers that the ban will help to protect the environment and wildlife by reducing the litter and damage caused by lightweight, checkout-style plastic bags. The EPA has produced a television commercial for use by retailers, along with print resources to help remind shoppers to bring reusable bags. The promotional material is available on request.
Local Retailer Stories
Retailers around Tasmania have adapted to the lightweight shopping bag ban in various ways (eg packaging in boxes, compostable packaging, reusable fabric bags). Examples of these are available here.Actions for Shoppers
As a shopper, you can remember to bring their own reusable bags when you go to the supermarket and store some in the car for that spontaneous purchase. At the end of their life, most plastic bags (including reusable polypropylene bags) are recyclable and can be placed in special bins provided at major supermarkets. Biodegradable bags certified to AS 5810 'Biodegradable Plastics Suitable For Home Composting' can be composted.