SA plastic bag ban begins next week

Posted by Editorial on 28th April 2009

The plastic bag ban in South Australia is set to come into effect next Monday, with supermarket staff set to wear badges asking for customer understanding.

Premier Mike Rann is excited about the positive impact the decision should have on the environment.

“South Australians are leading the nation by saying no to plastic bags,” he said. “We did it back in 1977 with our hugely successful drink container deposit which has dramatically cut litter and landfill. Now we’re going to have 400 million fewer plastic bags in SA’s waste and litter streams every year and we’re pleased to set the example for the rest of the nation.”

“By making a small change to our shopping habits, we can make an enormous difference to the environment and leave a better planet for our children and grandchildren,” he added.

Plastic Bag

Mr Rann praised retailers for already offering a wide range of alternatives to plastic bags.

“We’re encouraging people to use the reusable green bags, but if you do happen to forget there are other options out there including paper bags and Australian Standard compostable bags,” he advised.

The ban does not apply to bags on a roll in supermarkets and grocers, commonly used for fruit and vegetables or meat. Heavier department store or boutique clothing bags also will still be available.

Retailers will face on the spot fines of $315 or a maximum penalty of $5000 for breaching the ban. If a supplier provides a retailer with bags they know are banned, they can be fined $20,000.

Don’t shoot the messenger

The union representing shop assistants has launched a “Don’t Bag Me” campaign amid concerns that staff could face anger from shoppers over the ban. An estimated 30% of shoppers still use plastic bags in the state and there have been reports of abuse directed toward shop assistants at supermarkets where a trial ban has been in place.

Retailers or consumers seeking more information about the ban are invited to visit