Queenslanders understand how important our environment is, and with now only 11 days to go until the Palaszczuk Government’s plastic bag ban comes into effect, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said it was great to see stores, including supermarket giant Woolworths, getting in early.
From today, Woolworths stores across Queensland, and Australia, are stopping the use of single use lightweight plastic bags. The ban also extends across Woolworths Group stores, including BIG W.
Visiting Woolworths’ Buranda store today, Minister Enoch said it was great to see stores and shoppers already making the switch away from these plastic bags.
“Unbelievably, Queenslanders use nearly one billion single use plastic shopping bags every year. If you lined all of these up in a row, one by one, it would extend from the New South Wales border to the top of the Cape more than 160 times,” Ms Enoch said.
“The plastic bag ban is just one of the Palaszczuk Government’s initiatives to tackle plastic pollution, which can have devastating effects on our environment, especially marine life.
“With just over a week to go before the ban comes into effect, I urge retailers to put their final plans in place.
“Those who continue to supply plastic shopping bags after the ban comes into effect could face a fine of up to $6300 per offence.”
Ms Enoch said that the plastic bag ban formed part of the Palaszczuk Government’s broader plan to fight plastic pollution.
“We also have our Container Refund Scheme coming into effect in November, where Queenslanders will be able to recycle their bottles for a 10-cent refund.
“It’s also great to see stores come up with their own plans to address plastic pollution in a bid to change habits for the long term.
“At Woolworths for example, they have plans in place to stop selling straws, and address unnecessary packaging in produce, which is fantastic.”
Mr Matt Franich, Woolworths Queensland General Manager, said that with more than 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags handed out in Woolworths stores across Australia each year, today’s initiative was an important step in the Company’s commitment to make positive change happen.
"By working together with our customers we are committed to moving towards a more sustainable future and we are proud to say that from today, the single use plastic bag is gone for good in our stores,” Mr Franich said.
“We feel very strongly this is the right thing to do, and that together with our customers we can help create a greener future for Queensland.”
Landcare Australia also welcomed the announcement of Woolworths’ multiple initiatives to phase out the sale of plastic straws, further reductions in plastic packaging in fruit and vegetables and its nationwide phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags in their supermarkets.
“We are certainly excited that in FY19 Woolworths will be donating the money made from the sale of its new green reusable shopping bag, the “Bag for Good™” towards a nationwide Junior Landcare grants program,” said Jean-Marc Maissin, Landcare Australia Communications Director.
“Our Junior Landcare program is all about encouraging young people to play an active role in ensuring the safe future of their environment.
“We are delighted to be working with Woolworths. This partnership will enable primary schools across Australia and thousands of children to literally get ‘hands on’ with nature.”
Minister Enoch urged Queenslanders to plan for the ban, which will come into effect in 11 days.
“Simple steps to help prepare include working out which bags to use when you shop, and leaving bags in a place where you won’t forget them – like in the car.”
For more information about the plastic bag ban visit the Queensland Government website www.qld.gov.au/plasticbagban
Retailers are encouraged to visit the National Retail Association education website www.qldbagban.com.au
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch