Queensland bans single-use plastic bags and introduces container refund scheme

Single-use plastic bags will be banned in Queensland from July next year after the state parliament passed new legislation on Tuesday night.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said some retailers were proactively banning the supply of lightweight plastic shopping bags in advance of the ban.

Retailers who flout the laws face up to a $3,000 fine.

The state will also have a new container refund scheme, with most beverage containers to attract a 10-cent refund.

“An estimated 2.4bn beverage containers and 1bn lightweight plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland every year. These are ending up in our waterways and killing and maiming our native animals,” environment minister Steven Miles has told parliament.

The minister said the container refund scheme would create new jobs and charities would be among those reaping the rewards.

“This means more revenue for our not-for-profit organisations including sporting clubs and charities,” he said.

Technology should help make it easy for people to turn rubbish into cash: “We are giving people access to the latest technology to do it. Reverse vending machines are easy to use and provide instant refunds. They will be made available right across the state,” Miles said.

The first machine is currently being installed at parliament house.

The Queensland Conservation Council's Dr Tim Seelig said it was a breakthrough moment for the state.

"We do hope that this legislation will be the starting point of a much bigger conversation about how much we really need to use plastics on a day-to-day basis," he said.

Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland chief executive Rick Ralph said the new scheme would be particularly welcomed in remote and regional areas that had very limited access to recycling.

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