Perth: Cleaner Communities plastic bag report card – how your council rates

Does it really take 1000 years for plastic to break down?
Does it really take 1000 years for plastic to break down?

WA is lagging behind in the quest to ban plastic bags.

South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT have already moved to ban plastic bags.

The most-populated states in the country – WA, NSW, Queensland and Victoria – still allow them.

The times are a-changing, though, with several local governments actively pushing for laws outlawing plastic bags.

In fact the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), which advocates on behalf of 138 WA Local Governments, has declared the issue a priority.

“A State-wide ban on single-use plastic bags will reduce litter and contamination and has the support of the Local Government sector,” the organisation said last week.

“The WA Local Government Association’s State Council yesterday passed a resolution in support of a State-wide ban on the plastic bags, agreeing to advocate to the State Government for the ban’s introduction.”

While some progressive councils recognise the need for change, others don’t see the issue as a pressing one.

Here’s where your local council stands on the issue.

City of Armadale – C

Have discussed the matter and say it’s something they want to see addressed, and conveyed that position to WALGA to advocate for a ban at a state level.

Town of Bassendean – B

Supports state-wide ban, and has sought quotes on giving away 1000 reusable bags to be distributed from the Town’s customer service centre.

City of Bayswater – C

Supports a state-wide ban, but does not support a local law.

City of Belmont – C

Have discussed the matter and say it’s something they want to see addressed, and conveyed that position to WALGA to advocate for a ban at a state level.

Town of Cambridge – D

“The Town of Cambridge prides itself on sustainable living and waste reduction, and a blanket ban on the use of plastic bags is not considered to be a key issue,” acting Cambridge chief executive Jason Lyon said in April.

City of Canning – C

Supports WALGA in their attempt to advocate for a ban at State Government Level.

Town of Claremont – C

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said he was “sure” his council would consider the ban but thought most bags used by retailers in his shopping district were biodegradable.

City of Cockburn – B

The City supports the banning of plastic bags. The City’s position has changed slightly as a result of the announcement by the State Government that it would consider a state-wide ban, and would be doing research into the issue to inform its position.

Town of Cottesloe – C

“If it’s enforceable under State law and received wider support, I would think it was something the Town of Cottesloe would consider,” Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins said in April.

Town of East Fremantle – A

Voted in May to introduce a ban, which could come into effect in November if the State Government ratifies the plan.

City of Fremantle – A

Supports a ban of plastic bags, and had previous attempts to implement the move stopped by the Liberal State Government in 2012 and 2015. Is committed to pressing on with the plan.

City of Gosnells – D

Haven’t discussed banning plastic bags, but are taking measures though a variety of projects to drastically down on plastic waste.

City of Joondalup – C

“The City is investigating the introduction of a law (Plastic Bag Reduction Local Law) to restrict single-use plastic bags, which could see only biodegradable bags provided by retailers in the district …  Research will consider the likelihood of the law being allowed, its potential effectiveness, the ability to enforce it and the need to consult with retailers and the community.”

City of Kalamunda – C

Supports a ban on plastic bags, but wants the State Government to lead the way.

City of Mandurah – C

Supports a ban, but says it can only happen at state level.

City of Melville – C

Supports a ban, but “we prefer a state wide approach and welcome WALGA’s position which will see them advocate to the State Government for the ban’s introduction and follow other states who have already successfully implemented such a ban”.

Town of Mosman Park – C

“I think banning plastic bags is a no brainer,” Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said in April. “My problem is that we can ban plastic shopping bags but residents will then purchase plastic waste bags to put their garbage in when it goes into their bins.”

Shire of Mundaring – B

Failed to get a motion banning bags past council in June and has since directed chief executive Jonathan Throssell to prepare a report detailing the implications and resources required to develop a local law banning bags.

Shire of Murray – C

Supports a ban, but says it can only be ratified at state level. Plans to consult the local community and forward results on to State Government.

City of Nedlands – D

Has not considered a plastic bag ban. Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said: “It is recommended that Western Regional Organisation of Councils not go down the same path as Fremantle, and possibly the State Government, in banning single-use plastic bags but instead lobby for mandatory adoption of non-hydrocarbon based compostable bags.”

City of Perth – C

Has instigated a study into the impacts on businesses and shoppers before stating its position.

City of Rockingham – B

Council voted at its December 2016 Ordinary Council Meeting to support a statewide ban on plastic bags. The City considers that a statewide approach would be more effective and accountable than individual local governments adopting local laws that may differ and have a scatter gun approach.

City of South Perth – D

At this point in time the City of South Perth has not considered a ban on plastic bags.

City of Stirling – C

In favour of a State-wide ban and supports “WALGA to advocate for state wide regulation or a local government campaign to introduce local laws regulating the consumption of single-use plastic bags”.

City of Swan – C

Supports the ban, but wants the State Government to lead the way.

Town of Victoria Park – C

Supports a ban on plastic bags, but believe it “should be implemented at a State level to ensure a uniform approach, including appropriate enforcement mechanisms, is undertaken across Western Australia”.

City of Vincent – B

City of Vincent support a state-wide ban and have sent a letter to Ministers for Local Government and Environment urging a state-wide ban – if that does not go ahead, they will look into their own local laws to ban them.

City of Wanneroo – D

Currently has no policy on plastic bag use.

We were unable to obtain information on the positions of:

Shire of Chittering
Shire of Gingin
Shire of Peppermint Grove
Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale
City of Kwinana
City of Subiaco