Embracing the ban
LOCAL retailers are restocking their carry bags as Queensland prepares to go plastic-bag free.
The Queensland Government will enforce a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, which will apply to all retailers from July 1.
Supermarket giant Woolworths has led the state as they enforced the ban at all Queensland stores last week.
Emerald IGA has already removed all single-use bags and are giving out reusable bags to all customers this week to introduce the new scheme.
Emerald IGA store manager Julie Edwards said a lot of customers didn't realise what was happening.
"It is Queensland legislation,” she said. "It's happening everywhere and we just have to get on board.”
The ban applies to all retailers and Mrs Edwards said this was where a lot of people were getting caught.
"Whether it's in fish and chips, fast food, Red Rooster - any of those - they've got to go to these other bags which are thicker and reusable,” Mrs Edwards said.
"We've got a reusable bag on our checkout, so if you forget to bring bags after July 1, they will be able to get a bag at the cost of 10 cents, or they can buy our reusable bags, the same as Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.
"We've got to do something. I'm happy to do it.”
The ban only applies to bags at the checkout with bags used for fruit and vegetables still available.
Mrs Edwards said people who used single-use bags around the house would need to think about alternatives.
"People are just going to have to pay for bin liners,” she said. "Those people will have to think about it and buy some little bits and pieces.
"We are just going to have to re-educate ourselves. We are not the first to do it, other states have done it. It's just something we have to do.
"It's just a change of attitude for a bigger and better cause.”
Supermarkets, greengrocers, bakeries, chemists, restaurants and clothes stores, as well as market-stall holders and organisations which supply plastic shopping bags, are included in the ban, restricting retailers from using single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags under 35 microns. This includes compostable, degradable and biodegradable plastic shopping bags.
Under the legislation, any retailer who is found to be supplying the banned bags after July 1 may be fined up to $6300 per offence.
Visit qldbagban.com.au for more information.