Not all plastic bags will be banned when the QLD bag ban comes into effect but retailers need to be careful when considering their options.
The legislation will ban all plastic shopping bags under 35 microns thick which means that barrier bags, bin liners and thicker reusable bags are allowed. The ban applies to the shopping bag you hand over to the customer to carry their goods from your store.
What plastic bags are allowed?
The following shows some examples of bags not included in the bag ban.
Plastic bags without handles typically used as fruit and vegetable bags or barrier bags are allowed to be used to bag unpackaged produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and loose confectionery. Note: If you already wrap or bag your product (for example wrap a sandwich in paper) then this is considered the barrier and you cannot put this in another barrier bag as a replacement carry bag.
Bags designed and sold as bin liners or ‘dog poo’ bags are allowed to be sold and used as this purpose. You cannot however use a bin-liner bag that is less than 35 microns as a replacement carry bag.
Multi-use or reusable bags, including fabric, hessian and ‘green’ bags, are allowed. This includes cooler bags designed to be multi-use.
We recommend testing bags from suppliers to ensure the quality and strength (particularly of the handles) are suitable for your product and will indeed be able to be reused many times. Ideally they should also be recyclable and some retailers are printing tips for recycling these bags somewhere on the bag or tag.
Given their reuse extends beyond being a shopping bag, these bags present good branding opportunities for retailers. Read about a local butcher planning to create his own line of branded cooler bags ideal for picnics and BBQs >>
Thick reusable plastic bags
Heavier-weight plastic bags that are not singlet bags and are designed to be used multiple times, typically used by clothing and department stores, are allowed. National supermarkets such as Woolworths and Coles have announced that they will provide thick reusable plastic bags for sale across Australia from 1 July 2018.
Important: The Queensland Government has also proposed that retailers take voluntary measures to reduce the use of heavier-weight plastic bags.
Paper and cardboard bags
Paper or cardboard bags, with or without handles, are also allowed. These are often used by fast food outlets, pharmacies and convenience stores.
The cost of alternative bags
For the most part, alternative bags like those listed above cost a lot more for retailers to purchase and give away. Paper and thick plastic bags can cost 5 times as much as a lightweight plastic bag, while reusable ‘green’ bags typically cost $1 to $2.
Business owners need to consider the impact on these costs and the options available to them because of the state-wide ban. Read more on the options available to retailers >>
- What bags are banned? >>
- What is the actual legislation?
- Why are lightweight plastic bags being banned?
- 5 steps to managing the plastic bag ban as a business
- Resources and signage for businesses
- See what other retailers are doing to prepare for the ban
Unsure if your bag will be banned? Contact the National Retail Association >>