The impacts of plastic pollution on our environment and especially on our marine life are a very real concern to the Queensland Government and the community.
It is estimated that close to one billion single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland each year.
While the majority of these bags end up in the landfill, around 16 million plastic shopping bags end up in the environment in Queensland each year. This is equivalent in weight to 96 small cars.
When plastic shopping bags get into waterways and the marine environment, animals such as sea turtles and seabirds can swallow or become entangled in them.
As well as their environmental impacts, littered plastic shopping bags are unsightly, can clog up infrastructure, and are difficult and costly to clean up.
The Queensland Government is taking action to protect our unique environment and wildlife through the introduction of a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags on 1 July 2018, and a container refund scheme on 1 November 2018.
Watch the video below to learn more about the plastic bag ban story.
How will the ban be enforced?
The Queensland Government in conjunction with the National Retail Association, will work with retailers to ensure they are compliant with the plastic bag ban.
Community members and retailers are encouraged to contact the National Retail Association’s Retail Hotline on 1800 RETAIL (738 245) to report retailers who they believe are not complying with the ban.
A retailer who is found to be supplying the banned bags after 1 July 2018 may be fined up to $6,300 per offence.
A person, such as a supplier, who is found to be providing misleading information about plastic bags may also be fined up to $6,300 per offence.
Non-compliant retailers will be reminded of their obligations under the ban and supported by the National Retail Association and the Department of Environment and Science to only provide shopping bags which are compliant with the ban.
Tackling plastic pollution one step at a time
As well as the plastic bag ban and the introduction of a container refund scheme, the Queensland Government is developing a plan to identify and prioritize actions, partnerships and time frames to reduce plastic pollution in our state. The Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan will link with existing plans and programs at the state and national level.
The Queensland Government also continues to target litterers and needs the community’s support. If you see someone littering from a vehicle or vessel please report it to the department via our online reporting page.
Source: Queensland Government