At this time, in South Australia and the Northern Territory a plastic bag ban is in effect. The ACT will soon follow in November 2011. Plastic bags which are prohibited must meet the following 3 criteria: Which bags will be banned? The ban will prohibit retailers from selling or giving away

  • plastic bags: with handles
  • made of polyethylene
  • less than 35 microns thick.

What about bags with ‘100% degradable’ printed on them? Only compostable bags that comply with Australian Standard AS4736-2006 will be permitted. They are not made from polyethylene, but usually a starch compound – and are usually quite expensive (approximately 7 times the price.) Be careful about suppliers misrepresenting products as AS 4736 compliant. The ACCC has already taken action against companies engaging in misleading conduct regarding the representation of compostable bags. (eg: The Federal Court in Adelaide has declared that Goody Environment Pty Ltd engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false representations about ‘Goody’ branded plastic bags.) 

What are the penalties?

If a supplier provides a retailer with bags they know are banned, they will be guilty of an offence from 4 May 2009. Maximum penalty: $20,000 Retailers will face on-the-spot fines of $315 or a maximum fine of $5000 for breaching the ban. Transitional arrangements. During transitional periods into the full ban, retailers are usually permitted to continue using normal plastic bags – on the condition that they also offer an alternative in the store. The alternative may be offered to their customers at a price or for free – it is up to the retailer. Check your local authorities to be certain. Maxpak has a range of solutions for companies who face restrictions due to the Plastic Bag Ban. Please contact us, and we can consult with you to find the best solution for you.