Key updates

produce-bag-update1

Proposed design standard for produce and barrier bags

Have your say: closes 31 May 2024

Many Western Australians identified barrier bags (also known as produce bags) as a priority area for action. Conventional soft plastic barrier bags are commonly made from LDPE, HDPE, PP, or a combination of these polymers, typically with a range of additives that give the bag its physical characteristics. The variety in soft plastic composition makes it an extremely difficult material to recycle. Furthermore, soft plastics are often contaminated with food or bio-based plastic polymers, which increases the complexity of processing them.

The Stage 2 ban on barrier bags is being amended to allow the use of certified compostable barrier bags that clearly display the Australian Standard 4736-2006 (AS 4736-2006) certification to be exempt from the ban. These barrier bags will be the only type of prescribed plastic bags allowed to be made of single-use plastic. Reusable and plastic-free single-use options will remain a compliant alternative.

Certified compostable barrier bags will be able to be reused in households as caddy liners for food organics and garden organics (FOGO) kerbside collection systems in participating Local Government Areas (LGA); supporting food waste minimisation and providing a clear secondary use and circular end-of-life waste processing option.

DWER are seeking business and industry feedback on the proposed scope, timeline and design standard, which will be used to inform the final barrier bag policy position. The regulations will then be introduced via amendment to the Environmental Protection (Prohibited Plastics and Balloons) Regulations 2018.

What is proposed to be banned and when?

  • The sale and supply of non‑compostable plastic produce bags for loose fruit, vegetables, nuts and confectionary will be banned from 1 September 2024.
  • The sale and supply of compostable plastic produce bags that do not meet the design standards established in the Regulations will be banned from 1 July 2025.
  • This ban will also apply to loose/unpackaged meat, seafood and dairy products from this date.

See the attached factsheet >

Have your say

All feedback must be returned to the department before 4pm Friday 31 May 2024 via a written submission or the online survey: https://consult.dwer.wa.gov.au/programs/plan-for-plastics-stage-2-barrier-bags-business/

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