DEC 12, 2018 6:47 AM PST

Can the world follow Australia's plastic bag ban?

Almost six months ago now Australia’s two biggest supermarkets decided to ban plastic bags. Woolworths went single-use plastic bag free on June 20th; their competitor, Coles, followed shortly after on June 30th. The switch came after years of campaigning by environmental groups and consumers and since then the results have been spectacular.

Within the first three months of the change, the ban prevented 1.5 billion plastic shopping bags from entering circulation. The country as a whole has experienced an 80% drop in plastic bag consumption, according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP). Some retailers have even reported reduction rates up to 90%.

Photo: Pixabay

Estimates say that both Coles and Woolworths were previously circulating roughly 3.2 billion bags a year. The fact that these two mega-companies took the first step clears the path for smaller companies to take similar measures. David Stout, Manager of Industry Policy, Research & Projects at the National Retail Association, commented that smaller companies now need not worry as much about losing customers.

“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,” he said.

While New South Wales has yet to legislate a ban on plastic bags, the rest of Australia is working hard to eradicate single-use waste. Citizens around the country have become environmental activists, encouraging companies and their communities to invest in sustainable options.

Stout highlighted the need to ban other single-use items in addition to banning plastic bags. “Everyone delivering things in a package need to take responsibility for what they deliver it in,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more pressure on all of us to be more aware of what we consume.”

The goal, of course, is to get every facet of community on board this environmental revolution. “For business, for the environment, for the consumer and of course even for councils which have to work to remove these things from landfills, there’s a multitude of benefits on a whole to doing this,” Stout stated.

Sources: TreeHugger, The Guardian

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
Pollutants, Pathogens and Toxins Found in Shellfish
AUG 03, 2020
Pollutants, Pathogens and Toxins Found in Shellfish
Scientists used cutting edge technologies to assess how pervasive toxic or household chemicals and pathogens like plasti ...
AUG 04, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Indigenous and local knowledge is crucial to biodiversity monitoring
AUG 04, 2020
Indigenous and local knowledge is crucial to biodiversity monitoring
A study published recently in the Journal of Applied Ecology harps on the necessity of incorporating Indigenous and loca ...
SEP 01, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
No Child's Play - Advanced Bubble Manipulation Method can Transform Chemical Processing
SEP 01, 2020
No Child's Play - Advanced Bubble Manipulation Method can Transform Chemical Processing
Gas bubbles are fascinating, playful objects in children's eyes. In fact, they play an essential role in many indust ...
SEP 08, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Huge international supply chains account for 20% of global emissions
SEP 08, 2020
Huge international supply chains account for 20% of global emissions
This may come as a surprise to exactly no one, but multinational companies are the culprits of the highest levels of car ...
OCT 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
OCT 15, 2020
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
As wildfires continue to burn record-breaking acreages along the west coast of the United States and inland regions, hos ...
OCT 27, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Bird abundance falling in remote parts of the Amazon
OCT 27, 2020
Bird abundance falling in remote parts of the Amazon
A new study published in Ecology Letters has documented a consistent fall in biodiversity in the Amazon. The scient ...
Loading Comments...