"Plastic has a devastating impact on our natural environment - more than a third of the world's sea turtles were found to have plastic waste in their stomachs, and it is estimated around 90 per cent of seabirds eat plastic waste," a joint statement from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, environment spokesman Tony Burke and Labor Senators Penny Wong and Kim Carr read on Sunday.
If elected, the promise would see the Labor Party consult with individual states and territories about banning plastic bags, theoretically coming in effect by 2021.
The plan was announced as part of a $290 scheme to help reduce waste and includes a national container deposit scheme and a $60 million national recycling fund.
The European Union recently announced it would be banning single use plastic and New Zealand’s government revealed last August that single use plastic shopping bags would be phased out over the following 12 months.
Microbeads and plastic bags have a seriously detrimental effect on the health of marine life, with European research finding 80 per cent of ocean rubbish is made up of plastic.