Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Plastic shopping bags

The environmental impacts of plastic shopping bags are a significant concern for many people. The NSW Government shares these concerns and recognise the growing evidence on the impacts that plastic shopping bags have on the environment.

On 27 February 2015, at the Meeting of the Environment Ministers, the then NSW Minister for the Environment proposed developing a national approach to plastic bags to respond to the growing body of scientific evidence on the long term impacts of plastics in the environment. At the meeting, NSW agreed to advance further work on practical solutions for jurisdictional approaches to dealing with lightweight plastic bags.

EPA investigated options for addressing the impacts of plastic bags in NSW and nationally. This Plastic shopping bags options paper (PDF 1MB) presents the EPA's preliminary findings and outlines a range of policy options for minimising the impact of plastic bags in the environment.

These options were presented at the Meeting of the Environment Ministers in December 2015. The Ministers agreed that NSW and Queensland would convene this Ministerial Roundtable to inform a harmonised approach to reducing the environmental impacts of plastic shopping bags and review experiences of jurisdictions who have implemented plastic shopping bags bans.

Page last updated: 30 January 2017