Bali’s Plastic Bag Ban: Overview of New Legislation

Plastic Bag Ban

Bali, the beautiful Indonesian island with white-sand beaches and turquoise blue water, gradually became known not only for its beauty but also for a considerably huge plastic waste issue. The growing amount of plastic waste in Bali is not only polluting the environment but also harming the livelihoods of local communities who rely on fishing and tourism. Recognizing the serious implications of plastic waste, the government of Bali introduced new legislation in 2019 to ban single-use plastic bags in a bid to protect the environment and human health.

The Growing Plastic Problem in Bali

Bali’s plastic problem has been rapidly escalating in recent years, with over 3000 tonnes of waste generated in the island every day. The main contributors to this are plastic bags, straws, bottles, and other disposable items, most of which are left uncollected, untreated, and ultimately released into the environment. This plastic waste has a harmful impact on Bali’s natural resources, wildlife, and communities. As plastic waste decomposes, it contaminates soil and waterways, leading to a range of health and environmental impacts.

The Impact of Plastic Waste on Bali’s Environment

Bali’s natural beauty and biodiversity are crucial to its tourism industry, contributing significantly to the island’s economy. However, the plastic waste is putting this industry at risk and jeopardizing the environment’s health. Bali’s waters are home to diverse marine life, but the plastic bags are killing marine life that mistakes the bags for food. Furthermore, plastic pollution on Bali’s beaches leads to habitat destruction and can threaten nesting grounds for sea turtles.

Plastic pollution has also affected Bali’s water quality, making it unsafe for human consumption. The plastic waste contaminates the water, making it difficult to treat for drinking purposes. This has led to health problems for the locals, who rely on the island’s water sources for their daily needs.

The plastic waste also affects Bali’s air quality. When plastic waste is burned, it releases toxic chemicals into the air, leading to respiratory problems and other health issues for the locals.

The Role of Tourism in Plastic Consumption

The island’s tourism industry is one of the leading contributors to plastic consumption, with the industry relying heavily on single-use plastics for packaging and other purposes. This has led to an apparent increase in plastic waste generated in Bali. The rise of the tourism industry also means a rise in population and an increase in consumer behaviour, leading to the generation of huge amounts of plastic waste.

However, there are efforts being made to reduce plastic consumption in Bali’s tourism industry. Some hotels and restaurants have started using biodegradable alternatives to plastic, such as bamboo straws and paper packaging. The local government has also implemented policies to reduce plastic waste, such as banning single-use plastics in some areas and promoting recycling.

There are also community-led initiatives to clean up Bali’s environment and reduce plastic waste. These initiatives involve beach clean-ups, recycling programs, and education campaigns to raise awareness about the impact of plastic waste on the environment and the community.

Despite these efforts, the plastic problem in Bali is far from solved. It requires a collective effort from the government, the tourism industry, and the local community to reduce plastic consumption and properly manage plastic waste. Only then can Bali’s environment and economy thrive sustainably in the long run.

The Journey Towards the Plastic Bag Ban

The ban of single-use plastic bags in Bali was not an overnight decision and was a result of collective efforts by grassroots organisations, the community, and the government.

Plastic waste has been a growing concern in Bali for many years. The island, which is known for its beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes, was starting to become overrun with plastic waste. This waste not only affected the environment but also the local communities who rely on tourism as a source of income. The issue was becoming too big to ignore, and action needed to be taken.

Grassroots Movements and Local Initiatives

Many grassroots organisations have raised awareness on the effects of plastic waste on the environment, communities, and the economy. These groups hold regular beach clean-ups, awareness-raising campaigns, and have initiated several local-level projects to tackle the waste problem.

One such initiative is the “BYOB” campaign, which stands for “Bring Your Own Bag.” This campaign encourages shoppers to bring their own reusable bags when shopping, reducing the need for single-use plastic bags. Many local businesses have also started to offer discounts to customers who bring their own bags, further incentivising the use of reusable bags.

Government Involvement and Support

The Bali government formally announced the ban on single-use plastic in December 2018 and gave shops six months to comply. The government also worked with businesses to help them transition by offering support and alternatives to single-use bags. Furthermore, the government introduced robust penalties for non-compliance and established law enforcement units to investigate and manage waste issues.

The ban was not without its challenges, and there was some initial resistance from businesses who were concerned about the cost of transitioning to alternative packaging. However, the government worked closely with these businesses to find solutions that were both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

International Influence and Cooperation

The Bali government collaborated with Non-Governmental Organizations, Businesses, and the Indonesian Government to facilitate the successful implementation of the plastic bag policy. This international cooperation also helped to raise awareness on the issue globally and to encourage other nations to take similar action.

The plastic bag ban in Bali has been a resounding success, with a significant reduction in plastic waste on the island. The ban has also inspired other nations to take action against plastic waste, with many countries now implementing similar policies.

However, the fight against plastic waste is far from over, and there is still much work to be done. The ban on single-use plastic bags is just the beginning, and there is a need for continued efforts to reduce plastic waste in all forms. By working together, we can create a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for our planet.

The Details of the New Legislation

The new legislation aims to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic bags in Bali and involves several specific measures and guidelines.

Bali, known for its pristine beaches and vibrant culture, has been facing a growing problem with plastic pollution. With the increasing number of tourists visiting the island, the amount of plastic waste has also been on the rise. The new legislation is a step towards a cleaner and more sustainable Bali.

Types of Plastic Bags Affected by the Ban

The ban prohibits the production, distribution, and usage of common single-use plastic bags under 70 microns in thickness, including plastic shopping bags primarily made from conventional and biodegradable plastic materials such as Polyethylene, Polypropylene, or Bioplastics.

These plastic bags are known to take hundreds of years to decompose, and often end up in the ocean, harming marine life and polluting the water. The ban is an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and on the beaches of Bali.

Penalties and Enforcement Measures

Penalties range from a fee to revocation of business licenses for noncompliance. The government has set up a team of officials responsible for the enforcement of the ban, ensuring that businesses comply with the legislation.

The team will conduct regular inspections of businesses to ensure that they are not using banned plastic bags. The government has also set up a hotline for citizens to report any violations of the ban.

Exceptions and Exemptions

In specific cases where the availability of alternatives is limited or in some emergency situations, permits for use of single-use plastic bags may be granted.

However, businesses must apply for these permits and provide a valid reason for why they cannot use alternative bags. The government will review each application on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the use of plastic bags is truly necessary.

The new legislation is a crucial step towards a cleaner and more sustainable Bali. By reducing the amount of plastic waste, Bali can continue to attract tourists while also preserving its natural beauty for generations to come.

The Effects of the Plastic Bag Ban on Local Businesses

The plastic bag ban has been a hot topic of discussion in many countries, with some arguing that it is a necessary step towards a more sustainable future, while others argue that it poses significant challenges for small business owners. In Bali, the ban has been in effect since 2019, and its effects have been felt across the board.

Challenges Faced by Small Business Owners

The new legislation has posed several significant challenges to small business owners, especially those in the informal sector. These businesses often operate with limited resources and may have inadequate support to transition to sustainable practices. For instance, small vendors who sell food and beverages on the street may find it challenging to switch to eco-friendly packaging due to the high cost of these products.

Moreover, some small businesses may struggle to source eco-friendly packaging materials, especially if they are not readily available in their local area. This can lead to increased costs and reduced profits, making it harder for these businesses to stay afloat.

Opportunities for Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Despite the challenges posed by the plastic bag ban, it has also created a market for eco-friendly bags and packaging alternatives that support the transition towards a circular economy. This has opened up new opportunities for business people selling eco-friendly products. For instance, some entrepreneurs have started producing reusable bags made from sustainable materials such as jute, cotton, and bamboo.

Additionally, some businesses have started offering discounts to customers who bring their reusable bags, encouraging them to adopt more sustainable practices. This has not only helped to reduce the use of plastic bags but has also helped to promote eco-consciousness among consumers.

Support and Resources for Transitioning Businesses

The Bali Government has established support systems to help businesses adapt to the new changes effectively. These measures include training programs, tax breaks, and financial incentives to support small businesses. For instance, the government has set up workshops to teach small business owners about sustainable packaging and waste management practices. They have also provided tax breaks to businesses that switch to eco-friendly packaging, making it easier for them to transition to more sustainable practices.

Moreover, financial incentives such as grants and low-interest loans have been made available to small businesses to help them invest in sustainable practices. This has helped to reduce the financial burden of transitioning to eco-friendly alternatives and has encouraged more businesses to adopt sustainable practices.

In conclusion, while the plastic bag ban has posed challenges for small business owners, it has also created opportunities for businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. With the support and resources provided by the government, small businesses can make the transition to eco-friendly alternatives and contribute to a more sustainable future.


The plastic ban legislation in Bali was a long-awaited milestone and a significant step towards the island’s environmental conservation and sustainability goals. Although the transition has not been easy for all sectors, the plastic bag ban has had a positive impact on Bali’s natural environment, economy, and human health. This is a clear indication of how individuals, communities, and the government can work together to reduce the harmful use of plastics and contribute to a greener world.