PLASTIC shopping bags will soon be a thing of the past in Queensland, with the government moving to outlaw the environmental hazard in just 49 days.
From July 1, retailers will no longer be able to supply single-use lightweight plastic bags less than 35 microns in thickness to customers.
The ban will apply to all retailers, including market-stall holders and organisations who sell goods online.
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Retailers that continue to supply the banned bags after July 1 could face fines of up to $6,300 for each offence.
Similar fines will also apply to suppliers who provide misleading information about banned bags.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said Queenslanders use almost one billion plastic shopping bags each year.
The Minister said the figures were “astonishing”, with roughly 16 million plastic bags ending up in our environment each year.
“If you laid out all of these bags, end to end, they would reach from Coolangatta to the top of Cape York more than 160 times,” Ms Enoch said.
“This ban is one step the Palaszczuk Government is taking to reduce single-use plastic items in an effort to tackle the growing challenge of plastic pollution.
“The ban will also help keep our state beautiful for generations to come and reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our treasured environment and wildlife.”
Minister Enoch said it was pleasing to see some retailers already replacing plastic shopping bags in preparation of the ban.
“I congratulate the many retailers across the State who have moved away from plastic shopping bags already,” she said.
“It’s also an important time for households to starting planning of how they can use reusable shopping bags when visiting the shops.
“Most households are likely to already have alternative bags they can use such as reusable ‘green’ bags or bags they use every day, like a backpack.
“Make sure you take them with you when you go shopping or to collect a takeaway, and keep them by the front door, in your car or in your bag.
“Regardless of which reusable shopping bags you use, to maximise the environmental benefit it’s very important that you use them over and over again, and recycle them at their end-of-life, where possible.”
For more information on the plastic bag ban, click here.