Freo returns to bag ban
Freo returns to bag ban

Fremantle's bid to become WA's first plastic bag-free council is back in the hands of the State Government after the council endorsed a ban on non-degradable, single-use plastic bags for the second time in 18 months.

The City of Fremantle has removed a mandatory charge for alternative bags, which it hopes will avoid its law again being disallowed as it was in Parliament last year.

Supermarkets are likely to be hit hardest, with the new laws requiring them to use a higher micron level as in some other States.

The ban applies to plastic bags of less than 60 microns but compostable bags or those of thicker plastic could be used.

Retailers that flouted the law would be fined $150 or up to $2500 for continuing offences.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said he was confident the revised law would be allowed. He said the council planned a "soft rollout", which would include an education campaign.

It would give retailers a chance to try various bags and the ban would not be enforced until next year.

Dr Pettitt said he hoped the Fremantle experience would be a trial for a Statewide law.

"We're certainly happy to be that guinea pig, so to speak," he said.

Acting environment minister John Day said the Government would review the law and whether it could stand was a matter for the standing committee on delegated legislation, Parliament and the courts.

He said the Government had no plan to consider a wider ban on plastic bags.

Fremantle MP Simone McGurk, a member of the committee that will consider the law, said she supported the move and believed most of the community did as well.

"People are looking to policymakers to come up with innovative ways to reduce waste," she said.

"There might be a period of adjustment for consumers but Fremantle council should be commended for this initiative."

She said plastic bag bans in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory by all accounts worked well.

A spokeswoman for Woolworths said the company would comply with relevant plastic shopping bag legislation in Fremantle.

"Our view is that customers should be provided with choice in relation to the use of plastic bags," she said.

'We're certainly happy to be that guinea pig.'" Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt

The West Australian

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