The family-owned grocery chain Harris Farm has discontinued single-use plastic bags at registers across stores in NSW. It’s the first major Australian retailer to make the move, and Coles and Woolworths have announced they will follow suit later in the year, despite plastic bags not being banned in this state.

While bringing your own reusable bag is the best option for the environment, Harris Farm will provide free reusable bags as well as paper bags and cardboard boxes to carry your shopping home in.

South Australia, the ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have already rolled out a ban on plastic bags, and Western Australia and Queensland have promised to do the same from July 1 this year. Victoria’s ban will be announced after a consultation period – feedback is due in March this year. That leaves NSW as the only state without a government ban on bags in place or in the pipeline.

A study published in the journal Science last week highlights just how bad plastic is for the environment, predicting there are 11.1 billion plastic products in coral reefs from Thailand to the Great Barrier Reef.

“We are all in this together and believe that we can make a huge impact as we continue to drive change within our stores and nationwide,” says Harris Farm co-CEO Tristan Harris in an official statement.

Get our pick of the best news, features and events delivered twice a week

For Sydney’s latest, subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter.