Slobodanka Graham


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What are the new regulations for carry-on powders?

What are the new regulations for carry-on powders?

On 1 July 2018, powders join the likes of liquids, aerosols and gels as restricted carry onboard luggage.

What does that mean in practice?

Australia restricts the quantity of liquids, aerosols, gels and certain powders that you can carry onboard international flights. These restrictions do not apply to your checked-in luggage.

What are powders, liquids, aerosols and gels?

According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, they are:

  • Liquid—a substance that is liquid when at room temperature.

  • Aerosol—a substance kept in a container under pressure.

  • Gel—a jelly-like substance.

  • Powder—fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance (for example, flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk, baby formula or cosmetics). Powders may also be presented in clumpy, grain, or compressed material forms.

  • Note: Inorganic powder is a powder not consisting of, or derived from, living matter.

What are the powder quantity restrictions?

The Department of Home Affairs provides this handy list:

  • There is no limit on organic powders, such as food and powdered baby formula.

  • There are quantity restrictions on the amount of inorganic powder that can be carried, such as salt, talcum powder and sand.

  • Inorganic powders must be in containers of 350 millilitres (volume), 350 grams (weight) or less.

  • The total volume of inorganic powders must not exceed 350 millilitres, 350 grams per person.

  • Passengers cannot tip powders out to fall under the 350ml threshold as the restriction is calculated on total container volume.

  • There are no restrictions on the number of containers of inorganic powders per person, provided the total volume of all the containers of inorganic powder is 350 millilitres (11 ounces) or less.

  • At the screening point all powders in your carry-on baggage must be separately presented for screening. Unlike liquids, they do not need to be put in a re-sealable plastic bag.

This last point is particularly valid: don’t make the mistake of putting 350 grams into a container that can take 500 grams; the security personnel will throw it away.

Inorganic vs organic powders

If you’re puzzling over what exactly are inorganic powders versus organic powders, these lists should help:

Inorganic powders (restrictions apply)

  • Salt

  • Salt scrub

  • Sand

  • Some talcum powders

  • Some powdered deodorant

  • Certain food powders

  • Powdered detergent and cleaning products

Organic powders (not restricted)

  • Powdered baby formula

  • Powdered food

  • Coffee

  • Protein powder

  • Flour, spices, sugar

  • Most cosmetics

  • Epsom salt

How will it affect you?

As light travellers, you are already vigilant about carrying the smallest quantities onboard. Your liquids, aerosols and gel items must be in containers of 100 millilitres (volume), 100 grams (weight) or less.

As most cosmetics are considered organic powders, and therefore not restricted, this new regulation should not much affect what you are already packing in your toiletries bag.

Where there might be some issues is if you require talcum powder for special needs. One example is the need to carry and use powder to relieve the chafing of body braces. Seek special medical dispensation for that: a letter from your doctor should be adequate proof of need.

Another possible category is powdered detergent and cleaning products as these are stock items for light travellers. You might have to substitute laundry paper soap for powdered soap.

If in doubt about anything related to onboarding of powders, refer to the Home Affairs guides.

About the author

I’m Slobodanka Graham, content entrepreneur and extreme light traveller.

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