South Australia’s Plastic Bag Ban

South Australia’s Plastic Bag Ban

On May 4, 2009, South Australia banned lightweight, check-out style plastic bags.  The ban prevents any and all retailers from giving away or selling any plastic bag that is less than 35 microns thick and made of polyethylene polymer.

South Australia (SA) is a state in Australia.  The plastic bag ban legislation was passed into law in November, 2008.  The SA Government did a gradual phase-in of the ban to lessen the impact on retailers.  The phase-in process was initiated in January, 2009 and was carried out through a public awareness campaign.  The campaign included banners, posters, point-of-sale placards, and a mandatory cash register notice.

South Australia expects to reduce plastic bags by more than 400 million annually.  This is according to a news release from SA’s Premier Mike Rann and the Honorable Jay Weatherill, the Minister for Environment and Conservation.  See “SA’s Plastic Bag Ban An Outstanding Success”.

A consumer research survey about the Plastic Bag Ban was conducted by the Adelaide, SA-based Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science.  The survey showed that more than nine in ten shoppers were using reusable bags when buying groceries.  See “Plastic Bag Ban Research”.

Prior to the ban, in 2002, the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC), vowed to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bags.  A voluntary Retailer Code of Practice was in place from 2003 to 2005.  The voluntary effort by retailers resulted in a 34% reduction in overall plastic bag use.  However, realizing that further reduction in plastic bag use through voluntary efforts would be severely limited, the EPHC decided to phase out plastic bags by the end of 2008.  The agency reaffirmed this commitment in June, 2007.  See ‘Plastic Bags’

Read the Legislation

Further Resources:

Government of South Australia Plastic Bag Ban

Government of South Australia BYOBags