Australian Capital Territory Plastic Bag Ban

Australian Capital Territory Plastic Bag Ban

Ban Effective November 1st, 2011
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) began its plastic bag ban on November 1st. All retailers, not just supermarkets, are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic shopping bags.(1)

In 2009, a plastic bags community consultation was conducted by the ACT Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water. In that consultation, when asked, "Do you think there should be some form of restrictive government action (such as a levy or ban) in relation to free plastic shopping bags?", 58% of respondents said "Yes". In telephone interviews, 40% said they would support a levy and 33% said they would support a ban. See "Plastic Bags Community Consultation"

Following the consultation, the ACT legislative assembly passed The Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010 in December, 2010. Banning lightweight plastic bags in the ACT, the effective date of the ban was set for November 1, 2011 after a four-month transitional period which began July 1st.

Reducing Waste

According to a press release, the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010 is legislation to reduce the presence of plastic shopping bags in the ACT’s waste stream. “This is an important step forward in reducing the amount of plastic bags that are entering the waste stream, and waste that does not break down for many hundreds of years,” stated Mr. Simon Corbell, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water. “We can all play a role in finding more environmentally friendly ways to carry our shopping home, including by using reusable bags,” Mr Corbell said.

The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory. It is enclaved within New South Wales and is regularly referred to as Australia's 'Bush Capital'.(2)

The ACT joins other Australian territories in banning plastic bags: Northern Territory Australia and South Australia.

(1) Australian Capital Territory website

Photo: ACT Parliament House. Credit: Wikipedia

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