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States Agree To Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

The States has unanimously backed a draft law to ban certain types of plastic and paper carrier bags.

It follows a successful proposition brought by St Helier Deputy Inna Gardiner just over a year ago to get away from the habit of using and disposing plastic bags.

A petition signed by more than 1200 people also asked for plastic bags to be banned to help reduce the island's carbon footprint.

It was decided that paper carrier bags would be included in this ban so they didn't become an alternative to using single-use plastic bags.

The items banned are:

  • Lightweight plastic carrier bags: A wall thickness of more than 15 microns but less than 50.
  • Very lightweight plastic carrier bags: A wall thickness of less than 15 microns and not meeting the "OK Compost HOME" certification
  • Paper carrier bags: A weight of more than 50gsm but less than 170gsm

Some bags will be exempt from this ban. They are:

  • Very lightweight plastic carrier bags: A wall thickness of less than 15 microns and meet the "OK Compost HOME' certification
  • Paper 'counter' bags: A weight of less than 50gsm
  • Items wrapped in plastic packaging before being sold
  • Gift bags
  • Bin liners, dog poo backs, and nappy sacks

Businesses have been given 12 months to make the transfer to more sustainable packaging.

Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis says this should give them the time to get rid of existing plastic and paper bags after a tough trading year.

"The alternative is that some traders will have to manage a significant financial loss and potentially throw away thousands of bags to comply with the law that sets out to reduce waste."

It's also been agreed that traders, by law, will have to charge at least 70p for a bag for life.

That price was the most popular amongst businesses who responded to a consultation.

Environment Minister Deputy John Young says this is a huge step forward in minimising plastic waste.

"We have been slowed by Covid, but nonetheless, clearly to bring this to a conclusion in the lifetime of this parliament is, I think, really something."

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