Plastic Bag Free Freo Update

The City of Fremantle’s local law which prohibits retailers from providing customers with single–use non–biodegradable plastic bags will come into effect from 21 August 2013.

SO we are starting to role out the education campaign. Some more info is here :

byo bags


Why is the City introducing this law?

Despite our reduction in plastic bag use Australians still use over four billion plastic checkout–style bags a year–all of them made from non–renewable fossil fuels. We only use plastic bags for minutes, but many of them can take hundreds of years to break down.

What does the new law require me to do?

The ban will prohibit you from selling or giving away plastic bags made of polyethylene polymer less than 60 microns thick. Check with your supplier if you are unsure about composition or thickness.

Will the ban apply to all Fremantle retailers?

Yes. The ban applies to all retailers operating in Fremantle and its suburbs regardless of the size or nature of your business.

What about bags with ‘100% degradable’ printed on them?

Lightweight plastic bags marked ‘degradable’ will be banned because degradable plastics merely break down into smaller flakes which remain as damaging waste for many years. Only compostable bags that comply with Australian Standard AS4736–2006 will be permitted.

Will it cost me anything?

No. Retailers do not have to offer an ‘alternative shopping bag’, but if you do, you must charge a minimum of 10c per bag. You may charge more if you wish, to recover the cost of what you pay a supplier for these bags. If you currently buy single use bags to give away free to customers, remember this is already costing you money which you won’t need to spend after 21 August 2013.

plastic bag ban

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

6 Responses to Plastic Bag Free Freo Update

  1. It’s a great first step which I fully support, but it’s a shame you haven’t banned the ‘barrier bags’ for fruit and vegetable items and the heavy duty retail bags. It seems that the only bags you’ve banned are the supermarket type. It’s definitely going to be better, but there will still be far too much single-use disposable plastic in the form of other bags out there. I’m hopeful that once this roles out that you plan to gradually implement banning the other types.

    • Thanks for the feedback. We took the South Australian legislation and made it a bit stricter based on the lessons they learned so it is probably the strictest legislation in Australia but workable from a legislative perspective so the State Government did not have an excuse to cancel the law.
      cheers, Brad

  2. Reblogged this on Decarbonising Life and commented:
    A brilliantly simple law!
    The statistics around how long plastic stays with us in landfill and in our oceans are horrendous. A great way for the entire community to feel good about itself.

  3. harry says:

    from the perspective of a european this regulation is way out and way too strict for the subject it’s covering. maybe not forcing people into the usage of alternative plastic bags would be an option. maybe having a legislation for retailers to collect some cents for every plastic bag they use would fit better – most europeans bring their owns bags because they simply don’t want to pay 25 cents for a bag. this is the easy way.
    the hard way is “banning” plastic bags, following up this legislation (please don’t tell me cops will cross-examine people on the street concerning the source of their plastic bags) and also communicating the (obviously overwhelming) benefits.

    btw. i do have to buy garbage bags for my garbage if plastic bags are banned. will those garbage bags be soon banned as well? if so, can the council please provide buckets which i can fill up with all my household garbage and carry to the bin each day – or maybe we can get degradable jute garbage bags!?

    • hi Harry
      We have broadly used the South Australia model so we are consistent with the rest of the country.

      But in repose to your question “Who in the World Would Ban Plastic Bags?” this might help:

      There is a common misconception that the City of Fremantle is attempting something that has not been done before.
      In fact, plastic bags have been banned in a huge number of towns and cities and even whole countries globally, some of them with far more fragile economies than our own. In many cases these bans or taxes have resulted in huge reductions in plastic pollution.
      While it is important that the City take a leadership stance on the use of environmentally damaging plastic bags – it is also in very good company!
      Who is Doing it?
      Mauritania banned the use, manufacture and import of plastic bags from January 2013 as a way to protect the environment, livestock, and marine species.
      Kenya banned the manufacture and import of plastic bags from January 2011 as a way to protect the environment.
      Rwanda prohibited shops from giving away plastic bags to their customers in 2004.
      All lightweight plastic bags were banned in South Africa in 2003 and thicker plastic bagged are taxed.
      The Government of Zanzibar banned plastic bags in 2005. Tanzania introduced a nationwide ban on plastic bags in 2006.
      A strict ban was introduced in Bangladesh in 2002 after the floods of 1988 to 1998. It was thought that a contributor to the severity of these floods was discarded plastic bags blocking sewer systems.
      A total ban on ultra thin single-use plastic bags and a general fee on plastic bags was introduced in China on June 1, 2008. This came into effect because of the problems with sewerage and general waste. The country now uses over 50% fewer plastic bags saving roughly 40 billion a year.
      Hong Kong forbids retailers from providing plastic bags under a certain thickness and for free. It introduced a levy – the use of plastic bags dropped 90% after the its introduction.
      Malaysia enforce taxes on plastic bags on every Saturday since 2011 in the State of Selangor.
      In January 2003, Taiwan banned the free distribution of lightweight plastic bags. Many stores have replaced plastic with recycled paper boxes.
      In 2003, Denmark introduced a tax one retailers providing free single-use plastic bags. This encouraged stores to charge for plastic bags and pushed the use of reusable bags. It is estimated that this initiative saved about 66% of plastic and paper bags.
      Stores in Germany that provide plastic bags must pay a recycling tax.
      The Republic of Ireland introduced a €0.15 tax in March 2002. Levied on consumers at the point of sale, this led to 90% of consumers using reusable bags within a year. The tax was increased to €0.22 in 2007. The revenue is put into an Environment Fund.
      In January 2011, Italy banned the distribution of plastic bags that are not from biodegradable sources.
      Wales introduced a legal minimum charge of 5p for single-use bags in October 2011. Paper and biodegradable bags are included in the charge as well as plastic bags, with only a few specific exemptions – such as for unpackaged food or medicine supplied on an NHS prescription. Monies raised from the charge are not collected by the Welsh Government, which instead asks retailers to pass proceeds on to environmental charities.
      Northern Ireland will phase-in a very similar scheme of charging for bags during 2013 and 2014, while Scotland launched a public consultation in June 2012.
      Altogether, 85 United States communities have plastic bags bans including some of the largest Cities in the US. San Francisco, San Jose, Austin, Seattle and Portland.
      San Francisco led the nation with a complete ban on plastic bags in 2007 with the exception of biodegradable bags.
      Seattle introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags on July 1, 2012.
      The Los Angeles City Council voted in 2012 to draft an ordinance that would make it the biggest city in the U.S. to implement a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout counters. All plastic bags will be banned and customers will have to pay for paper bags.
      Mexico now fines stores for giving plastic bags to their customers since August 2010. Plastic bags were one of Mexico’s major pollution issues.

      • harry says:

        thanks for all the info mayor, it’s nice to get an answer that quick.

        i can see where you’re going and i can understand the way of taxing single use plastic bags. that seems very civilised and adequate. sadly you couldn’t answer how you plan to follow up this legislation (please don’t use my tax dollars for a plastic-bag-police).
        as well you weren’t able to answer my question concerning normal garbage bags. plastic shopping bags may take hundreds of years to break down – but what about plastic bin liners?*

        on the other hand you’re saying you’re in good company concerning the ban of plastic bags and then…mention a whole lot of third-world and densely populated countries (and a few comparable ones as well).

        my point is not that it is not a good initiative but that this ban is just another ban in the jurisdiction of australia (not that there are already more than enough) and there might have been a way to introduce a legislation reducing the use of plastic bags without calling it a ban (or it effectively being a ban) – see denmark and germany.

        what i’m saying above and in the following paragraph is that an idea like this should be thought through properly and the impacts should be leveled out…

        *you might also be interested in the fact that energy saving lightbulbs or CFLs, the pride of the eco-sustainability movement in fact is one hell of a problem. specialised companies are now finally able to extract the mercury used in the bulbs and offer glass and plastics for re-use, though the mercury itself is not reusable. you can look on some websites and try to find out what happens to the mercury but i’m rather sceptical you’d find something (little hint: putting things into mining tunnels doesn’t mean they’re gone). good site to start is btw. it’s the same with wind turbines – the blades are made from thermoset polymers which are pretty hard to recycle…another one where green becomes blood red.

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