Major grocery retailers have announced the phase out single use plastic bags nation-wide. A national ban is set to come in July, but Coles and Woolworths have started early, axing plastic bags in sixteen stores across New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria.
The phase-out comes years behind the rest of Australia – South Australia first trashed the bags in 2009, slapping hefty fines of up to $20,000 to retail suppliers who provided the prohibited plastic.
The ACT and Northern Territory banned the bag in 2011, with Tasmania following in 2013.
Each Australian state and territory has individual plans in place to reduce disposable waste and boost reusable goods.
Australian Youth Climate Coalition member Kate Elliott-Rudder said while this is a good step, much more needs to be done by the NSW government.
“Other state governments are taking the charge on this, and I think it’s really disappointing that our state can’t be at the forefront of this, given that we’re the most densely populated state and probably the biggest users of plastic bags,” she told The Spot’s Aisha Sini this morning.
When it comes to environmental protection, Australia is lacking in action compared to the rest of the globe. Last year, the federal government announced plans to cut marine conservation by almost half, by reducing the protection of 44 marine parks. The reduction of plastic bags means Australia can catch up to worldwide environmental action.
The plastic bag ban comes after NSW introduced the container deposit scheme, that offers 10c refunds for recyclable cans and bottles at allocated checkpoints.