The states have moved to ban single-use plastic bags from retail outlets, but just how effective is the blanket ban on keeping plastic bags out of the waste stream?
A new initiative aiming to end Australia’s reliance on single-use plastics has been announced by the Boomerang Alliance at the Beyond Plastic Pollution Conference in Darling Harbour.
Communities Taking Control aims to empower communities to bring about systematic change and end the reliance on single-use plastics. It will provide passionate groups and individuals with a comprehensive guide, including all the information about tools and platforms, to implement a plastic free community initiative. The guide is based on the collaborative efforts of allies and pilot programmes in Noosa and Wollongong.
“The impacts of significant pollution from plastic in the environment have begun to seriously alarm scientists, health professionals and communities,” said Jeff Angel, Director of the Boomerang Alliance of 47 groups.
“Our oceans, local waterways, marine and wildlife are being crippled by the sheer volumes of plastic, and with plastic now being found in our food and drinking water, it is clear the human food chain is already contaminated.
“All sectors of our society need to take action, and we’ve been pleased to see government, industry, NGO’s and community members coming together to discuss and collaborate on the solutions to the plastic pollution crisis at the conference. This is the way forward.”
Mr Angel noted that programs are already being developed with local businesses, festivals, schools and other stakeholders to reduce the output of single-use plastic at the source.
“The wide spread adoption of reusable consumer goods, and the transition of businesses towards re-usables and non-plastic alternatives will have a huge positive impact on our environment,” he said.
Communities Taking Control is specifically targeting
- plastic bottles
- plastic bags
- polystyrene and plastic takeaway food containers
- coffee cups
The Victorian Government will move to ban single-use plastic bags, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
The Premier revealed the move on Channel 10’s The Project on Tuesday evening. It follows a campaign by the program in partnership with Clean Up Australia.
“We are going to get this done as quickly as we can and I think that only leaves one or two other states,” Mr Andrews told the Ten Network on Tuesday.
“I have been convinced by [‘The Project’s] advocacy over such a consistent amount of time to announce… that Victoria will ban single-use plastic bags,” he said.
“We know this is really important for the environment, particularly for our waterways, for landfill, for waste management.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Wednesday said the government will work closely with Victorian communities and businesses to design the ban.
“Experience in other jurisdictions shows that banning lightweight plastics ban can lead to undesirable results, including increased use of heavier duty plastics, which can have an even greater environmental impact,” she said.
“That is why the Labor Government will work with the community on how to best manage plastic pollution, and deliver a workable scheme that doesn’t unfairly impact on consumers, retailers, industry or the environment.”
The 2015/16 Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index reported that Victoria has the lowest litter count in the country for the fifth year in a row.
NSW is now the only state to have not voiced intentions to ban the bag. South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT have all put bag bans in place as of this year, with Queensland set to join them in 2018. The Western Australian Government recently announced single-use shopping bags will be banned from July 1 next year. The major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths also announced a similar move earlier in the year.