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.
The massive reduction stems from bans by major Australian supermarkets
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).
1.5 billion single use plastic bags eliminated since July
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.
Woolworths and Coles’ actions have paved the way for other retailers to ditch plastic bags
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.
STUDY FINDS 30% DROP IN PLASTIC BAGS LITTERING EUROPEAN SEABED
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.
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