Plastic pollution is an urgent environmental problem. Globally, thousands of tonnes of plastic enter our waterways and oceans each year.

DELWP is committed to reducing plastic pollution in Victoria.

The Victorian Government has announced that it is banning lightweight plastic shopping bags from late 2019.

Plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns thick will be banned, including degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic shopping bags. In the lead up to the ban, we will educate consumers and retailers so there is a smooth transition away from plastic shopping bags. You can find more information on the ban in the consultation report below.

Bags that will be banned include typical lightweight plastic shopping bags, including biodegradable, degradable and compostable lightweight plastic

Bags that will not be banned include barrier bags for fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, garbage bags and bin liners and animal waste bags

Alternatives to plastic bags include thick plastic bags designed for reuse, 'green' (woven polypropylene) and hessian bags

Consultation

The Victorian Government commenced public consultation on the design of a lightweight plastic shopping bag ban reducing the impacts of plastic pollution in October 2017. The discussion paper on these issues, Reducing the impacts of plastics on the Victorian environment, can be found here.

We talked to a range of stakeholders, including retailers and environmental groups, to get their views on how we can best reduce plastic pollution.

The consultation closed in January 2018. We received more than 8,000 submissions. A full summary of the feedback from the consultation, an outline of the ban and our next steps on plastic pollution can be found in the consultation report:

Reducing the impacts of plastic on the Victorian Environment - Consultation Report - PDF. (PDF, 1.2 MB)

Reducing the impacts of plastic on the Victorian Environment - Consultation Report - Word Document. (DOCX, 1.7 MB)

Other plastic pollution

Plastic bags are only part of the problem. Throughout the consultation process, a range of other plastic pollution issues were raised, including cigarette butts, food and beverage containers and other single-use plastic items.

Over the next 12 months, we will develop a plastic pollution action plan to prioritise the most effective actions to reduce other types of plastic pollution. We will also establish a reference group made up of government, industry, community and environmental representatives to help inform this plan, while continuing to draw on the feedback received during the consultation.

Further information

For more information, please contact the Waste and Resource Recovery team via email wastepolicy@delwp.vic.gov.au