Western Australia retailers who supply lightweight plastic bags to shoppers face fines of up to 5,000 Australian dollars (3,600 U.S. dollars) from next year in line with a major green initiative, state authorities warned on Wednesday.
"From Jan 1, 2019, it will be an offence for retailers to supply lightweight plastic bags -- this includes small retail shops, takeaway food outlets and markets," the state's Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said in a statement.
The state-wide plastic bag ban applies to all retailers and includes bags that are biodegradable, degradable or compostable with handles and a thickness of 35 microns or less, according to environmental authorities.
Plastic bag suppliers and producers who provide misleading information when selling bags to retailers also risk being prosecuted and fined.
"Consumers can help by remembering to take their own reusable bags when they go shopping," said Dawson.
"Taking lightweight plastic bags out of the litter stream is a significant step towards protecting our environment."
Western Australia's move follows similar ones recently taken in the public and private sector. In June, supermarket chain Woolworths stopped providing single-use plastic bags from its stores nationwide, in a move expected to remove more than 3.2 billion of the items from the environment every year.(2018-11-21 Xinhua)