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Victorians have been using over 1 billion plastic shopping bags every year.

The majority of these bags end up in landfill and around 10 million end up as litter, polluting our environment and endangering our wildlife.

As the ban is now in effect it is illegal for any retailer in Victoria to provide lightweight plastic shopping bags. It is also illegal for retailers, wholesalers or manufacturers to provide or withhold misleading information about banned or exempt plastic bags.

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The Victorian Government implemented a state-wide ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags on 1 November 2019.

The ban applies to ALL retailers – including supermarkets, greengrocers, bakeries, pharmacies, clothes stores, restaurants, cafes, markets, food outlets, and many more.

Retailers - and bag suppliers - need to be aware of the bag ban legislation, what is banned and the implications if you do not comply. Please click on the sections below for the essential info...


Since 1 November 2019, retailers are not allowed to supply lightweight plastic shopping bags in Victoria.

It is illegal for:

  • a retailer to supply a banned plastic bag;
  • a retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer to provide misleading information or to withhold information about banned or exempt plastic bags.

The Victorian ban was initially announced in 2018, providing time for businesses to rundown stock.

If you are left with unused stock, please do not provide these banned bags to customers. Explore options to recycle through soft plastic recycling facilities. Compensation for excess stock of banned bags is not available.

If you are concerned about this or your compliance, please contact the NRA at or 1800 817 723.



The impacts of plastic pollution are a real concern to the Victorian Government and community.

Since announcing the ban in October 2017, the Victorian Government received over 8,000 submissions from the public regarding plastic pollution, with 96% in favour of a ban on lightweight plastic bags.

This ban is just the first step in the Government’s broader agenda to reduce single-use, unnecessary and problematic plastics.

The following information is adapted from the 'Reducing the impacts of plastics on the Victorian environment' Discussion Paper, published by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.


Plastic pollution is an urgent environmental problem.

Globally, thousands of tonnes of plastic enter our waterways and oceans each year. It has been estimated that ocean surface waters alone could contain over 5 trillion plastic pieces, weighing over 250,000 tonnes.(1)

Plastics in the environment break up into smaller and smaller pieces over time. This means that the impacts of plastic pollution are long term, and can become increasingly difficult to manage.

While Victoria has had relatively low litter rates, litter from lightweight plastic bags poses a particular problem. Plastic bags are highly mobile and can easily be blown into open spaces and waterways. In the environment, they can pose a danger to marine animals. A study by the University of Queensland found 30 percent of turtles autopsied were found to have plastics, including plastic bags, in their intestinal tract.(2)

Currently, every Australian state and territory except New South Wales have banned lightweight plastic shopping bags. This is also the case in countries such as China, France, Kenya and Bangladesh. 


Please note: the advice provided on this website is designed to assist retailers in understanding the ban and weighing up options but is by no means exhaustive. Each retail business should assess and make decisions based on their own advice and situation.