It’s the end of our Financial Year and the start of a shiny, bright new one tomorrow. It happens the same time every year. Yawn.
However tomorrow, being the 1st of July 2018 is the start of a new step towards a better future for us. Tomorrow, Western Australia bans the supply of light-weight plastic bags.
The ban will apply to retailers throughout Western Australia that currently supply lightweight plastic shopping bags to their customers and they will have until 31 December 2018 to phase out their existing stocks of banned bags. Retailers may face fines if they supply banned bags after this date.
Legally, retailers are not required to provide customers with a bag, so the bag ban presents an opportunity to assess whether retailers actually need to offer bags at all, or whether to charge a small fee for alternatives.
The new laws will apply State-wide to all retailers regardless of size or type – from supermarkets to fashion boutiques, from fast food outlets to service stations.
Over the last few months, retailers have been urged to consider a range of alternatives and ensure their bags are compliant before January 2019 which is when the transition period ends and substantial fines will come into play.
I can only hope that this is the start of a further move to reform the way that plastics are used in our society. This is a great first step. It is often stated in the media that this move was consumer driven, so it makes sense that the total removal should ensure that we all find alternatives and are prepared to use them.
It will be a gradual change over the next 6 months I am sure, but what a welcome one.
Images: from Dept. of Water & Environmental Regulation website