About Tasmania's plastic bag ban

From 1 November 2013, retailers in Tasmania can no longer supply shoppers with a plastic shopping bag for the purpose of enabling goods sold, or to be sold, by the retailer, to be carried from the retailer's premises. The primary aim of the Tasmanian Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2013 is to reduce the number of lightweight plastic shopping bags in Tasmania by encouraging the use of clean reusable bags.

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) and plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging (such as bread, frozen foods or ice bags and fruit and vegetable ‘barrier’ bags).

Find out more about which plastic bags are in and which are out.

The legislation supports the Tasmanian Waste & Resource Management Strategy and builds on initiatives undertaken by many retailers in Tasmania, who have already moved to supplying reusable or biodegradable bags for customers. Similar legislation has been implemented in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Despite community awareness and concern about plastic shopping bags and despite the ready supply of reusable bags and other options by retailers, many consumers continue to accept new lightweight plastic shopping bags each time they purchase goods from a retailer. Billions of them are used in Australia each year. While convenient, lightweight plastic shopping bags can have long term impacts. They are designed to be used once before being discarded and only a small percentage are recycled (5%) or reused a second time (20% e.g. as bin liners). The vast majority (75%) are sent to landfill after the one use.

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