Send Email Plastic Pollution

Ban heavyweight plastic bags in Australia

Thick or thin, any plastic bag is bad news for our turtles and whales. 

In bad news for ocean wildlife, many big retailers have been handing out thick plastic bags – circumventing bans on lightweight plastic bags in every state and territory.

Just like other soft plastics, heavyweight plastic bags are lethal to turtles, whales, and dolphins. 

Western Australia has already acted, banning thick plastic bags by the end of the year. If we all put the pressure on right now, we can convince the other states and territories banning plastic bags is the popular thing to do.

If we combine our voices, we can take that momentum nationwide. Will you add your name to the petition for a ban on thick plastic bags in ALL states and territories?


Show / Hide Petition Letter

Dear Ministers James Griffin, Ingrid Stitt, Penny Sharpe, Roger Jaensch, Chris Steel, and Lauren Moss,

I support a ban on heavyweight plastic bags.

While single-use plastic bags below a thickness of 35 microns are now banned in most Australian states and territories, many retailers have simply moved to using thicker heavyweight plastic bags for single-use purposes – defeating the purpose of the legislation.

Plastic bags are one of the most lethal killers of ocean animals. Easily airborne, plastic bags escape and float easily on-air and in water, traveling long distances. With estimates suggesting these plastics take between 20 to 1,000 years to break down (depending on factors such as exposure to water and sunlight) these plastics pose a huge threat to marine species at every level of the food chain.

Plastic bags, both heavyweight and lightweight, pose an entanglement risk to ocean mammals such as turtles and seabirds, who can become caught in them. Unable to make it to the surface to breathe, these animals may suffocate.

Many ocean species also eat smaller plastic pieces of these bags, mistaking them for food or ingesting them by mistake. These soft plastics can wrap around other items in the stomach, causing life-threatening blockages.

Soft plastics including plastic shopping bags made up 13.73% of litter collected in 2020 Clean Up Australia Surveys and 40.4% of all plastics collected.

In order to stop plastic bags harming Australia’s iconic ocean wildlife, a ban on heavyweight plastic bags should include:

• a ban on the use of all single-use plastic bags up to 70 microns thick (including degradable or biodegradable bags);
• regulations to ensure thicker plastic bags (>70 microns) may only be made available to consumers at cost or greater (i.e. $1 per bag), in order to deter habitual use; and
• a requirement that all plastic carry bags must have a minimum 80% recycled content, increased to 100% recycled content when technically possible.

Australians want our oceans to be clean and full of abundant wildlife, not full of plastic. We don’t want plastic ending up in our seas, and we don’t want it turning up in our seafood.

We call on you to urgently implement a ban on heavyweight plastic bags, to meet the scale of the crisis in our oceans.

Thank you for your consideration,

Your Name, Postcode.

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