Plastic bag ban

The  ACT banned plastic bags on 1 November 2011.

Single-use plastic shopping bags litter our environment, harm wildlife and require valuable resources to manufacture. The Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have also banned single-use plastic shopping bags. More states and territories will likely follow.

The ban has reduced plastic bag use, with shoppers encouraged to bring their own bags. Overall the ban has reduced the volume of plastic bag waste going to landfill by around one-third.

The ban applies to all retailers in the ACT for single-use, lightweight polyethylene polymer plastic bags that are less than 35 microns in thickness (these are the  thin plastic bags with handles that were typically supplied at supermarkets  check-outs). The ban does not apply to other bags such as barrier bags for fruit and vegetables.

The ACT’s plastic bag ban was reviewed in 2012 and 2014, including through community surveys. The 2014 survey reported that:

  • more than 70% of people surveyed did not want the ban overturned
  • 65% of Canberra grocery shoppers supported the ban for environmental reasons and agreed it had a positive effect on the environment.

More information



Which bags are banned and which are allowed?

Reviews and community survey results


Phone: Access Canberra on 13 22 81