Australia Reduces Plastic Bag Consumption By 80% in 6 Months

 Related image

Just months on from the major supermarkets sensational plastic bag ban one retail industry group estimates 1.5 billion bags have been eliminated from use.

Single-use plastic bag consumption in Australia has fallen by over 80% following a ban by two major supermarkets giants last July, according to the National Retail Association (NRA).

You wouldn't eat plastic bags: take plastic bags off the menu Part of a Greenpeace campaign against plastic bags, published in Jun 2016 — ‘In Australia, we use 4 billion plastic bags every year, or a staggering 10 million every single day. Millions of these end up strewn across our beaches, or floating through waterways and oceans where fish, turtles and birds mistake them for food. And it doesn’t have to be this way.’ Source: YouTube/GreenpeaceAustraliaPacific

In Australia, a total of 1.5 billion plastic carry bags have been spared from landfills since retail giant Woolworths self-imposed a ban last June, followed by supermarket chain Coles in July.

The switch by Coles to reusable cloth bags occurred on the same day as a statewide ban in Queensland.

"Retailers deserve an enormous amount of kudos for leading the way on one of the most significant changes to consumer behavior in generations, and we also applaud shoppers for embracing this environmental initiative,” NRA Manager of Industry Policy David Stout said.

The bulk of shoppers now use their own bags, which has been instrumental in reducing the number of plastic bags being consumed.

Stout told SBS News he is confident the major supermarkets will now work to implement environmentally friendly alternatives to other single-use-packaging products, like plastic-wrapped fruits and vegetables.

Australians are the second highest producers of waste, per person, behind the United States Each year, Australia sends upwards of 690 kilograms (more than 1,520 pounds) of waste to landfills, according to Clean up Australia. That figure equates to a staggering 429,000 bags each hour. Source: Pixabay/Ben_Kerckx

The two supermarkets have paved the way for smaller businesses to introduce plastic bans without fear of alienating customers.

"These supermarkets are seen as the product stewards, so a lot of people will come back to them," Stout further stated. "Obviously the best thing for smaller businesses is to either engineer out the bag completely or have the customer pay. They should be able to consider that strategy without fear of backlash.

Every Australian state and territory, excluding New South Wales, has taken action on the nation’s plastic addition by committing to phase out single-use plastic bags. Retail heavyweights Target and Kmart have similarly pledged to stop offering single-use bags this year.

New study claims that the number of plastic bags on the ocean floor around parts of Europe has dropped by almost a third. See below. Source:

A new scientific study claims that the number of plastic bags on the ocean floor around parts of Europe has dropped by almost a third, which could be proof that the plastic bag levy is having an effect. There are fewer plastic bags on the seafloor since the introduction of a carrier bag charge in many EU countries, according to the study.

CLICK for more details.