Victorian plastic bag ban

Retailers are banned from supplying lightweight plastic bags in Victoria.

It’s also against the law for a retailer or a wholesaler or manufacturer to give false or misleading information about banned bags.

The ban applies to all retailers, including:

  • supermarkets
  • clothes shops
  • charity shops
  • restaurants, cafes and food outlets
  • convenience stores.

The ban is a result of environment protection laws. The laws aim to protect Victoria’s environment and wildlife from plastic pollution.

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

Types of bags that are banned

It’s against the law to sell or provide customers with plastic bags that are 35 micrometres (μm) thick or less at any part of the bag, if the bag:

  • is to carry goods sold from the premises 
  • has handles
  • is all or partly plastic.

The ban applies to new or reused bags that are wholly or partly plastic

The ban includes bags that are:

  • degradable
  • biodegradable
  • made of compostable plastic.


Not all bags are banned. Some bags without handles and less than 35 micrometres (μm) are still legal.


Legal plastic bags include:

  • supermarket bags used to carry loose fruit and vegetables
  • bags that are a vital part of the packaging that seals goods or makes them available for sale
  • plastic dry-cleaning covers
  • dog waste or nappy bags
  • medical waste bags
  • garbage bags and bin liners.


There are no officially approved plastic bags. Even if a plastic bag has ‘bag ban compliant’ or similar printed on it, that does not mean it is compliant.


If retailers decide to provide bags, they are encouraged to use alternatives including:

  • paper or cardboard bags
  • cloth, jute or hessian bags
  • non-woven reusable bags
  • heavyweight reusable plastic bags.

Obligations for retailers

You cannot sell or give banned plastic bags to consumers to carry goods sold by you from your retail premises. 

All retailers must comply with the ban

You are a retailer if you’re an individual or company involved in the sale or supply of goods to consumers. Whereas wholesalers are generally involved in selling or supplying larger amounts of goods to retailers, rather than to consumers.

The Victorian ban is slightly different to bans in other states. It’s your responsibility to understand and comply with Victoria’s laws. If you conduct retail outside Victoria, check each state’s laws.

It applies to new and second-hand banned bags

The ban applies to new or second-hand banned bags. Market stallholders, charity shops and community fêtes must not provide non-compliant second-hand bags to carry goods.

Even if you don’t mean to, you must not provide information that’s false or misleading about:

  • the materials that make up a banned plastic bag
  • whether or not a bag is a banned plastic bag
  • whether or not a bag is exempt from the ban.

If you’re unsure whether your bags comply, ask your supplier to provide evidence of your bags’ thickness, at the thinnest point or from across multiple points of the bag. If your supplier is unable to provide the thickness and you still want to explore using the bags, a measurement laboratory can test your bags' thickness.


Download these visual guides: Poster for retailers - plastic bag ban (PDF) and Poster with banned and allowed bag examples (PDF)

Obligations for wholesalers and manufacturers

Plastic bag suppliers (wholesalers, manufacturers and importers) must not give information that you know, or should reasonably know, is wrong or misleading about:

  • the materials that make up a banned plastic bag
  • whether or not a bag is a banned plastic bag
  • whether or not a bag is an exempt plastic bag.


Plastic bag wholesalers, manufacturers and importers may also have used packaging obligations under the National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM).

EPA’s role in the plastic bag ban

EPA is responsible for administering Victoria’s plastic bag ban. Our authorised officers can enter retail premises to take and remove bag samples to check if they comply.

Penalties for not complying with the ban

There are significant penalties for not complying with the ban. In more serious circumstances, EPA may decide to prosecute.  

Court penalties of $10,900 for an individual and $54,500 for a company may apply.

Retailers who ignore an order from EPA could face a court-imposed penalty of up to $454,350.

How to report the use of banned plastic bags

Help us protect human health and the environment. If you are sold or given a banned plastic bag, let us know.

Reviewed 19 December 2022