Western Australians are being urged to start changing their plastic bag use with less than six months to go until the ban on lightweight, single-use plastic bags is due to come into effect.
Public submissions have also opened on the plastic bags ban and can be made via an online survey or by written submission.
A discussion paper, Implementing a lightweight single-use plastic bag ban in Western Australia, is open for public comment until March 9, 2018.
The discussion paper, prepared by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and the Boomerang Alliance, seeks feedback on the plastic bag ban and implementation options designed to assist retailers and consumers.
The ban will bring Western Australia into line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory which already have plastic bag bans in place. Queensland has also committed to a ban from July 1, 2018.
A November 2017 survey of WA households found that 84 per cent of respondents support a ban on lightweight, single-use plastic bags.
It is estimated that Western Australians used about 360 million single-use plastic bags in 2017.
These bags have an average useful life of 12 minutes and in Western Australia about five million are littered annually, which leads to a devastating impact on marine wildlife and birds.
"The Government's plastic bag ban is widely supported by the community and industry.
"This includes major retailers which are some of the biggest suppliers of plastic shopping bags.
"A recent survey showed 84 per cent of Western Australians supported a ban on lightweight, single-use plastic bags.
"Major supermarkets – Coles, Woolworths and IGA – intend to ban lightweight, single-use plastic bags while some retailers – including Bunnings and Aldi – already support the ban by not offering these bags to customers.
"The discussion paper gives the community an opportunity to be part of efforts to reduce the impact of plastic bags on our environment.
"This Government is committed to reducing the amount of waste generated, increasing the amount of material recovered and reducing the disposal of waste to landfill, as well as decreasing littering. This initiative will help us achieve these goals."