Turtle with plastic bag
November 13, 2015 Campaigns No Comments

Since 2013, Wildlife Queensland has been calling on the State Government to act on Queensland’s plastic pollution problem…

Our Plastic Bag Free Queensland campaign promotes awareness of the impact plastic litter has on our wildlife and is working to bring Queensland in line with other plastic bag free states. South Australia, for one, has had a ban on single-use plastic bags since 2009. It is estimated that this ban removes over 400 million bags from the economy every year. It remains popular, with nine out of 10 South Australians taking their re-usable bags with them to the supermarket.


In January 2015, the new Government came to office with a promise to act on plastic bags and container deposits.

Wildlife Queensland’s campaign to ban the single-use plastic bag in Queensland called on the Government to release a public discussion paper on options to restrict plastic bags and other identified non-biodegradable plastic packaging by 2017, with a decision to ban single-use plastic bags in 2016.

The campaign also called for a commitment to investigate a container deposit scheme for Queensland, and include helium balloons and a number of other problematic products/practices in any ban on single-use plastic bags.


In 2016, Wildlife had a welcomed win on Cash for Containers!

On 22 July 2016, along with partner organisation Boomerang Alliance, Wildlife Queensland welcomed the State Government’s announcement that it will introduce a Container Deposit Scheme (cash for containers) in Queensland. The announcement was followed in February 2017 by the release of the Consultation Paper, Implementing Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme, keeping the Government on track to introducing a scheme in July 2018.


Later that year, our campaign to ban plastic bags in Queensland was finally won!

On 25 November 2016 the Queensland State Government announced a ban on lightweight, single-use plastics bags in Queensland. The ban, scheduled to begin in July 2018, includes a ban on so-called ‘degradable and biodegradable’ bags. The Queensland LNP and Independent MPs in Queensland supported such a ban, providing bi-partisan support for the policy. A huge thank you to all our members and supporters for making a plastic bag ban a reality!

Following the announcement, the State Government released a Public Discussion Paper to seek views on when the how the ban should be implemented, Implementing a lightweight Plastic Shopping Bag ban in Queensland, on which Wildlife Queensland prepared a submission. Thank you to everyone who put in a submission. As a result of our promotion, the State Government received over 26,000 submissions.

The legislation went to Parliament in June 2017, with a plan to introduce a ban on lightweight bags in July 2018. Biodegradable bags were included in the ban. Unfortunately, despite overwhelming evidence that helium balloons are devastatingly harmful to our wildlife once they fall back to earth, the mass release of helium balloons was NOT included in the ban.

The key to winning the war on plastics is a change in behaviour…

Alternatives to the single-use plastic bag are readily available, and can be easily taken along to the supermarket. If you forget to BYO re-usuable bags, ask your supermarket to provide compostable bags as an alternative. Many people go on to use their plastic bags as bin liners – why not use compostable bags instead?

Single-use plastic bags (and other plastic packaging) are wasteful and deadly! We need to rethink them at home, at work, and at public events…

Wildlife Queensland’s factsheet on how to hold a plastic free event has been sent to every school in Queensland, along with a request not to release helium balloons. Download and share our Plastic Free Events factsheet here!

The facts about plastic bags:

A single-use plastic bag has an average useful lifespan of 12 minutes.

Plastic bags take up to 1000 years to fully decompose.

They break down into smaller pieces, posing an event greater opportunity to the wildlife who ingest them.

Plastic in the ocean kills over one million birds and 100,000 sea mammals every year.

30 per cent of sea turtle deaths in Moreton Bay is attributable to plastic ingestion.

Australians use about four billion bags every year.

Over a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide per annum.

Supermarkets account for over 50 per cent of plastic bag use.

It costs over $4 million to clean up plastic litter every year. Thousands of active citizens take part in the annual Clean Up Australia Day and report plastic as a major problem.

Only three per cent of plastic bags are returned for recycling.

Plastic bags are made from non-renewable fossil fuels.

Plastic accounts for 80 per cent of debris found in the ocean.

Over 25 countries around the world have banned or levied plastic bags. In the US over 168 cities and counties have bans or levies. California has banned the bag.

In South Australia nine out of 10 people use their own bags at the supermarket. South Australia has reduced plastic bag use by 400 million bags per year.

More to download and share:

Authorised by Des Boyland, Policies and Campaigns Manager, Wildlife Queensland, Suite 1, Level 1, 30 Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill, Brisbane, Qld 4101.


Written by wildlife1ict