Plastic bags, get in the (allocated) bin.
Following bans in France, China, Bangladesh, and Kenya, to name a few, another country is making further moves toward a plastic bag-free existence. State-by-state, Australia has been rolling out bans of plastic bags, cups, plates, and takeaway containers, and another state has made the pledge.
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced a statewide ban of single-use plastic bags starting on July 1, 2018.
South Australia was the first state to ban non-degradable plastic bans in 2009, and the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory followed suit in 2011. Single-use plastic bags will be banned from Queensland by 2018, and Tasmania is set to become the first state in Australia to phase out single use, petroleum-based plastic containers and utensils by 2020.
New South Wales and Victoria are yet to join the party, although the Victorian government is open to “going it alone” if a national ban doesn’t come into effect.
Australia isn’t the only country banning plastic bags. Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban them in 2002, after they blocked drains during colossal floods. China banned free plastic bags in 2008.
The U.S. has been rolling out bans in individual states over the last few years, with Hawaii the first to fully prohibit them in July 2015. Several African countries have banned the bags, including Kenya, where the fines are pretty damn hardcore —harsh penalties include four years in prison and fines up to $40,000.
Bags aren’t the only things to be banned, however. In Sept. 2016, France became the first country to ban all plastic cups, plates and silverware in a law that will take full effect in 2020.
If you’re living in Australia, you might want to pick out a stylish reusable bag soon. You’re going to need it.