Plastic Bag Ban

In 2009 South Australia lead the nation with a ban on lightweight, checkout-style plastic bags. The Northern Territory and ACT governments are now introducing bans on these types of plastic bags.

South Australian shoppers were quick to embrace the State’s plastic bag ban for the sake of the environment. Research undertaken by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at UniSA showed that more than nine in 10 shoppers took reusable bags to do their shopping, compared to about six in ten before the ban took effect. The Institute tracked community attitudes and behaviours towards the bag ban since October 2008. Read a summary of the research findings here. You can also view the resources Zero Waste SA developed to support the introduction of South Australia's ban at

Other Australian States and Territories working towards a ban are welcome to reuse these materials.

With this South Australian Government initiative there are almost 400 million less plastic bags in South Australia every year. While South Australia cannot solve the plastic bag problem of the entire nation, it has shown leadership by being the first Australian state to crack down on plastic bag pollution.

Since 2006 the Government has worked with retailers and unions to promote a smooth phase-out of the bags and to ensure risks for retail workers are minimised. Zero Waste SA worked with a task force comprising major retailers, the State Retailers Association of South Australia, Hardware Association of SA Inc., Restaurant & Catering SA, Consumers' Association of South Australia, Conservation Council, Local Government Association, KESAB environmental solutions, and the Shop Distributive & Allied Employee’s Association. The EPHC (Environment Protection & Heritage Council) maintain a large collection of reports on the environmental impacts of plastic bags. View the reports here.


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