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Single-use Plastic Bags To Be Banned In WA From Mid-2018 In Bid To Protect Environment

- Sep 13, 2017 -

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West Australian retailers will be barred from giving shoppers single-use plastic bags from next July, with the state becoming the latest Australian jurisdiction to announce a ban.

Shoppers will instead be required to bring their own bags or forced to purchase reusable ones from stores under the changes announced by the McGowan Government.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the announcement had the backing of major retailers, and was confident any backlash from shoppers and smaller stores would be minimal.

"We will talk to industry over the next few months about our scheme," Mr Dawson said.

"There is public support for it now so we wanted to give the community some confidence that we are bringing in a ban across the state."

Premier Mark McGowan said the distribution of single-use plastic bags at shops had a devastating environmental impact.

"Plastic can blow all over the place. It can blow into our rivers, our wetlands and our oceans and it kills marine life," Mr McGowan said.

    "We think the time has come."

Shopper Wes Capper said he could not see any harm in the ban.

    "It's not a bad idea, to be honest. Save the planet a little bit, seeing as we're destroying it pretty good, I reckon."
Conservation Council WA chief executive Piers Verstegen welcomed the move.

"Plastic is created from petrochemicals, so it pollutes the environment when it's created and it also pollutes the environment when we dispose of it," he said.

    "Overall this is going to lead to a massive reduction in the amount of plastic waste in our environment."
South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory already have plastic bag bans in place, while Queensland is also moving to implement one.

In WA, the City of Fremantle previously moved to ban single-use plastic bags within the local government area but had the scheme voted down in State Parliament.

The City of Perth also flagged implementing its own bag ban earlier this year.

A statewide ban could also in theory be voted down in State Parliament's Upper House, but Mr Dawson said he was confident that would not happen.

In July, supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths announced their own plans to phase out the environmental hazards over the next 12 months.

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