Waste Education and Resources

Plastic Bag Ban - 1 July 2018

From 1 July 2018, the supply of lightweight plastic bags (like the ones you get with your groceries and takeaways) will be banned in WA. 

The ban will apply to all lightweight plastic bags with handles which are 35 microns or less and include degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic bags.

Instead, you will need to remember to take reusable bags when you shop, or look for other alternatives. Perhaps a cardboard box or, for just a few items, use your hands!

Make sure you have plenty of reusable bags. Keep them in your car, handbag, nappy bag, the pram, the basket on your bike and anywhere else you might need them. Make sure shopping bags are the first item on your shopping list.

For more information visit What's Your Bag Plan.


Frequently Asked Questions

When does the bag ban come into effect?
The ban on lightweight plastic bags begins on 1 July 2018. 
What bags are banned?
The plastic bag ban includes all lightweight plastic bags with handles 35 microns thick, or less (including degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic bags).
Who does the ban apply to?
ALL retailers in Western Australia including food retailers, market stall holders and organisations that supply lightweight plastic shopping bags.
Can a retailer supply lightweight degradable, biodegradable or compostable plastic bags?
No. Degradable, biodegradable and compostable lightweight bags are included in the ban. Degradable bags break up into smaller pieces of plastic (microplastics) and can be eaten by animals.

Biodegradable and compostable bags persist in the environment for long periods and do not break down in temperatures below 50 degrees – conditions not found in the environment for prolonged periods of time.
Does the ban apply to online sales?
Yes. The ban applies to plastic bags supplied with online purchases sourced in Western Australia.
What can I use instead of plastic bags when I go shopping?
Take reusable bags to the shops—for example hessian bags, green (non-woven polypropylene) bags, insulated cooler bags. Use a cardboard box, a paper bag, load up your pram or bike basket or put the contents of your shopping trolley straight into the car.
How can I remember to take my reusable bags to the shop with me?
  • Put your reusable bags back in your car or by the door as soon as you put away your shopping.
  • Write bags on top of your shopping list.
  • Put a reminder note on the door you go out when you head to the shops.
  • Put a note on your steering wheel, to remind you to grab your bags as you leave the car. 
  • Prepare for that unexpected shop—carry one or two foldable bags in your handbag, backpack, in your pram or bike basket.
I use plastic shopping bags as bin liners. What are the alternatives?
Consider lining your bin with newspaper or simply washing your bin after emptying it. You can wrap your organic waste in newspaper and put in the freezer until bin collection day. Purpose-made bin liner bags will still be available for sale. 
Can I still use plastic bags without handles typically used as fruit and vegetable bags or barrier bags?
Yes. These bags are not affected by the ban.
Can I still use ‘dog poo’ bags?
Yes. These bags are not affected by the ban.
Are nappy bags being banned?
No. You will still be able to purchase these. To reduce your reliance on single-use plastic, consider wrapping used nappies up in newspaper, before placing in your bin.
What about the use of plastic bags for medical purposes?
Medical care providers – except optometrists and pharmacists – can continue to use lightweight plastic bags to provide goods to their patients or to dispose of medical waste, e.g. used bandages.
Can I still use heavier-weight plastic bags typically used by department stores?
Yes. Heavier-weight plastic bags are designed to be used multiple times. Some retailers may have heavier weight plastic bags for sale.
Can I take the lightweight bags I have stored at home to the shops to put my shopping in?
Yes. It will only be illegal for a retailer to sell or supply a lightweight plastic bag after 1 July 2018.
Can I continue to use lightweight bags I have stored at home as bin liners after 1 July 2018?
Yes. It will only be illegal for a retailer to sell or supply a lightweight plastic bag after 1 July 2018.
What difference will this ban really make?
More than 670 million lightweight plastic bags were used in Western Australia in 2017 and of these approximately seven million were littered. Lightweight plastic bags are easily blown by the wind, littering streets, parks and waterways. When they enter the ocean they endanger wildlife. Plastic bags also break up into small fragments (microplastics) and can be ingested by marine and land animals, entering the human food chain.

Reducing Household Waste - Video Series

There are many ways to reduce the amount of waste that your family generates. View the first of our eleven part 'Reducing Household Waste' video series on how to get started. It's very easy and the entire family can get involved in the challenge.

Getting started

Get some handy hints from Mark Layton, a local Spearwood resident on how to get started in terms of reducing your household waste.

For accessibility purposes the transcript of this video is linked in the 'related documents' area below.

Composting

There are so many things you can do to reduce waste from your household. Instead of throwing your green waste into the garden waste bin - try composting it. After a few weeks you can use it as free fertiliser and spread it onto your garden.

For accessibility purposes the transcript of this video is linked in the 'related documents' area below.

Worm farms

There are so many things you can do to reduce waste from your household. Set up a worm farm to produce nutritious soil for the garden, the kids will love it! Did you know that worms eat meat, human and pet hair, and dirty paper towels?

For accessibility purposes the transcript of this video is linked in the 'related documents' area below.
 

What to do with cooking oil and other fats

If poured down the drain, cooking oil and others fats can block your pipes and cause sewerage overflows! Find out how you can safely dispose of cooking oils and fats instead.

For accessibility purposes the transcript of this video is linked in the 'related documents' area below.

What to do with shells and bones

Ever wondered what to do with egg shells, bones, oyster or mussel shells instead of just throwing them out? Find out from Mark Layton, a local Spearwood resident who uses pizza ovens, fire pits and blenders to reduce this type of waste to zero!

For accessibility purposes the transcript of this video is linked in the 'related documents' area below.

Waste Education Tours

The City offers free waste education tours and resources for schools, businesses and the community.

Henderson Waste Recovery Park tours

Henderson Waste Recovery Park tours are a great way to find out what happens to the waste we produce. Tours include:
  • Introduction to waste
  • How to minimise waste
  • Resource recovery
  • Understanding landfill
  • Transfer station
  • Waste gas to energy
  • Hazardous waste
  • Reuse Shop
Tours for all community members run regularly.

School tours run every Friday between 9am to 12 noon and are suitable for years 4 to 12. Tours are free and we even fund travel to the park if your school is within the City of Cockburn!

Regional Resource Recovery Centre tours

The Regional Resource Recovery Centre processes general waste and recycling from your home. State of the art technology separates waste, recovers recycling and converts organic waste to compost. Contact tours@smrc.com.au to book a tour. Schools within the City of Cockburn can access a free bus to transport them to and from the site.

Waste education mobile trailer

Schools and community groups can borrow the City's mobile waste education trailer. The trailer contains resources on how to 'reduce, reuse, recycle', as well as fun games including:
  • Landfill Game
  • Memory Game
  • Wetlands Game
  • Recycling game
  • Composting Game

Waste education incursions

The Waste Education Officer attends schools within the City of Cockburn to run waste education sessions. These are tailored to your school’s needs and include games and activities.

Tour dates, more information and contact

Visit What’s On to find out tour dates. Contact the Waste Education Officer on 08 9411 3444 or at customer@cockburn.wa.gov.au to borrow the trailer or book school programs.
 

Contact

Address

9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Visit the City of Cockburn homepage