Sustainable Living | 16th Jun, 2016

Plastic bags

Next time you visit your local supermarket, think about this – across the country, we use nearly 4 billion single-use plastic bags every year.

According to Clean Up Australia (pdf), just three percent of these plastic bags are recycled. The rest end up in landfill.

Many of us have switched to green reuseable bags for our weekly shopping, but plastic bags are still thrust onto customers at the moment of purchase. It’s still a massive problem.

That’s why we support a total, nationwide ban on plastic bags at point of sale.

With the exception of times where hygiene or public safety is an issue, we think that plastic bags should be banned across the country. In the absence of a ban, we support a levy on plastic bags at their point of sale.

A ban would have multiple benefits:

  • It is easier to administer than a levy
  • It would not be difficult for shop owners to comply with
  • It would be less politically controversial than a levy, as a levy would need to be increased as its impact decreases over time
  • It would have a positive effect on food and grocery prices, as plastic bags currently cost about 2-3 cents each
  • It would reduce litter
  • There are many proven reusable alternatives that have a lower environmental impact.

If you’re interested in learning more, Clean Up Australia has some excellent fact sheets:

Say No to Plastic Bags – May 2015 (pdf)

Recycling Fact Sheet – May 2015 (pdf)

Read to take action? Get involved in Plastic Free July! Sign up for a day, a week or the whole month and try to refuse ALL single-use plastic or try the TOP 4: plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws.