Build better bag habits before 1 November

Are you ready for the plastic bag ban that kicks in next month? Lightweight plastic shopping bags will be banned from retailers across Victoria including supermarkets, green grocers, clothing stores, restaurants and more from 1 November. Start building better bag habits now to make sure you don’t get caught empty handed at the checkout.

Person carrying plastic bag

Bags, wallet, keys and phone.

Make sure you have a few reusable bags on hand before the ban kicks in. Try these tips to make sure you don't forget them:

  • Leave one at home, in the car, and at work. By having a few on the go you’ll be less likely to get stuck without one.
  • Keep lightweight foldable bags in your bag, wallet or pocket for when you’re on the move. "Bags, wallet, keys and phone"—have you got them all before you leave the house?
  • Establish a communal bag store at your workplace to fall back on when you forget your own.

Why ban the bag?

Every year, approximately 150 million plastic bags will litter our planet, often ending up in our oceans and waterways—and that only includes those used by Australians. Plastic is designed to last, so every plastic bag you’ve ever used still exists today. Because of the lightweight nature of these cheap plastic carriers, they often escape landfill and end up choking the natural environment, posing a deadly threat to wildlife and delicate ecosystems . When animals ingest plastic, the pieces fill up their stomach leaving no room for food which causes them to starve to death.

Plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources (oil or gas) and take a huge amount of energy to produce and distribute. They are also notoriously difficult to recycle, causing contamination and blockages in recycling facilities. Those that do end up in landfill don’t break down, but instead release dangerous chemicals which can end up leaking into drinking water supplies.

Use what you have

Any bag can be a grocery bag! If you don't already have reusable bags at home, check out your local op shop or ask friends or family if they have any spare. If buying new bags, opt for those made from durable material that will last. Canvas, string, ‘green’ or tote bags are great options.

But what will I use for a bin liner?

For those that are in the habit of turning the humble single-use plastic bag into a ‘double-use’ bin liner—this question might stump you. While garbage bags and bin liners will still be available to buy, take the ban as an opportunity to question whether you really need a bin liner in the first place.

Mixed recycling collections in Victoria don’t accept plastic bags , which contribute the most to recycling contamination. If your recycling is tied in a plastic bag, it will go straight to landfill, so you don’t need a bag for your recycling bin.

For your landfill bin, the following are simple alternatives:

  • Newspaper lining. Three sheets of newspaper can be enough to line a bin and will degrade more quickly than plastic.
  • The nude bin. Who says you need a liner? Wash your bin clean after emptying if you need to. If you compost food waste, your bin should stay relatively clean anyway.

What about biodegradable bags?

The ban includes all lightweight shopping bags, including biodegradable, degradable and compostable bags, and will be supported by a plastic pollution plan that will tackle other types of plastic pollution. For more information about the ban visit Sustainability Victoria.

Say goodbye to the plastic bag and build better bag habits today!

For more information about plastic bags and other soft plastics visit Plastic Bags.

More Information

Sustainability Team