Queensland’s Parliament last night passed a law banning the sale of plastic shopping bags from July 2018, the ABC reports.
This comes after a consultation paper on lightweight plastic bags received more than 26,000 submissions in February, with 96 per cent of people supporting a ban.
Businesses still selling single-use plastic shopping bags after July 2018, including bags labelled as biodegradable, could be fined up to $3,000.
A ten-cent refund for recyclable empty bottles and cans will begin at the same time, with reverse vending-machine collection points to be set up across Queensland, similar to the trial machine at Brisbane’s Parliament House.
Most containers between 150 millilitres and three litres can be handed in for the refund. Wine, spirit, cordial, plain milk and concentrated fruit-juice bottles or cartons can’t be refunded. This is because they are normally consumed at home and recycled, not normally ending up as litter. The measures are similar to New South Wales’ scheme, which begins this December.
In a statement on Tuesday, Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said the changes were about protecting the state’s wildlife and natural environment. “We want our parks, our waterways, Moreton Bay and the Great Barrier Reef to be litter free.”
The plastic ban bag comes after Woolworths and Coles announced on the same day in July they were stopping the supply of free single-use plastic bags. The two chains will both sell more durable, re-usable plastic bags for 15 cents each.
Victoria and Western Australia are the only states yet to begin phasing out plastic bags.