The Project's Bid to Ban the Bag
Author: Alicia Jooste
On Wednesday night The Project’s Waleed Aly shone a spotlight on the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags by asking Australians to sign a petition to ‘ban the bag’.
The Project’s petition, which has been prepared in partnership with Clean Up Australia, asks the premiers of New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia to join the rest of the nation in eradicating a material that has significant environmental impacts on local habitats and ecosystems.
The Project reported that Australians use between four and six billion plastic bags annually. Yet, on average, a single plastic bag is used for a mere 12 minutes before being discarded.
If the premiers agree, they would be joining states and territories across the nation who already have bans on distributing free bags in place, including: South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT. Queensland is set to follow suit from July 2018, and recently Fremantle in WA became the first council to ban free distribution of bags.
Around the globe many nations who have already banned free bags include France, Italy, the Netherlands and England in Europe to Bangladesh, China, Taiwan and Myanmar in Asia. The list also includes some of the poorest nations on the planet, like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.
With Aly highlighting that 80 per cent of South Australians, who have already been living with a plastic bag ban, strongly support the ban and 70 per cent of Canberrans feel the same way, it seems the transition for New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia is a logical and necessary one.
- Sign the petition calling on your state premier to 'ban the bag'.
- In the meantime, wherever possible reduce your use of plastic by switching to a reusable shopping bag, coffee cup and shop at bulk stores to avoid plastic packaging.
- If you do end up with plastic shopping bags they can be recycled through most supermarkets around the country. You can also recycle bread, pasta, rice and other soft plastics through the REDcycle program operating in most metro-Coles and some Woolworth stores.
Alicia worked at Planet Ark in 2016.
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