Victoria announces plastic bag ban
Author: Laura Chalk
Victoria is the latest Australian state to announce a plastic bag ban. The Victorian government follows the lead of supermarket behemoths Coles and Woolworths who announced their own bans earlier this year.
This announcement, and the ones that have preceded it, come after intense lobbying from environment groups and the general public.
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the government would hold a three-month consultation process to “design the ban” – which involves gathering a consensus among environment ministers, businesses and the community on whether or not replacement plastic bags will be provided, and if so, exactly what kind. D’Ambrosio stated in a piece by ABC News that the Victorian Government is keen to consider the impact of heavier plastic bag use in lieu of the thinner, single-use ones, as has been the strategy so far in banning the bag elsewhere.
Plastic bags are a major killer of marine animals, which can die from eating them or becoming entangled. D’Ambrosio said the move to eliminate single-use plastic bags would slash waste, reduce litter and help to protect Victorian marine life.
Lightweight plastic bags are banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, while Western Australia and Queensland laws will come into effect next year.
In July of this year, Coles and Woolworths announced they would phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months. To do this, the supermarkets are replacing the bags with the option to purchase more durable shopping bags for 15 cents each.
The Aldi supermarket chain does not provide single-use bags but sells multiple use bags for 15 cents and fabric bags for 99 cents.
Trevor Thornton, Lecturer at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University, says that should the ban proceed, it will have a significant outcome. The three most common contaminants of the household recycling bin will be banned:
- plastic bags with recyclables
- plastic bags with general waste
- empty plastic bags.
In an article in The Conversation, Thornton says the decision can be an opportunity to have a wider discussion about plastic use. This is a chance to ask why people use plastic bags and investigate general shopping habits. For lasting behaviour change to occur, a probe into the wider issue of plastic use is vital, he says.
Australia’s second most populous state moving to outlaw plastic bags is a massive step in the right direction and demonstrates that there is a significant groundswell of public opinion around the issue, which seems set to continue.
- Use reusable! Whether the multi-use bags available at the supermarket, a favourite calico or cloth bag of your own, or one of Boomerang Bag’s fun options, it doesn’t matter! This is a chance to get creative and do your bit to minimise the impact of plastic bags on the environment
- Check out Planet Ark’s 4 tips to ban the plastic bag in your day to day life here
- Let your local supermarket know how appreciative you are of their outlawing of single-use plastic bags. If your state or supermarket is dragging it’s heals, consider sending them a message that you want plastic bags eliminated
- Consider cutting down on other plastic items. One way is to avoid putting fruit such as bananas in plastic grocery bags, and considering what other items can do without a bag
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.