Author: Jessica Hudson
Woolworths and Coles announced they were stopping the use of lightweight plastic bags at a combined 16 locations across Australia earlier than anticipated. This action comes three months before legislation bans plastic bags throughout most of the country on 1 July.
Single use plastics like these bags don’t degrade in landfills and often make their way into oceans and waterways, where they harm the natural environment.
Woolies and Coles will be replacing the lightweight plastic bags with thicker, reusable plastic and plastic alternatives at an extra charge of (15 to 99 cents). Woolworths will do so nationwide on June 20, but its early-adopter stores have already phased out the bags. Coles will do the same on July 1, with its early stores committing to a phase out by the end of April.
While plastic bags make up a small amount of Australia’s total annual litter, Woolworths alone uses approximately 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags each year. At that quantity, reducing consumption will still make a significant impact on the environment.
Banning plastic bags is just the beginning in reducing plastic consumption, including take away containers and drinking straws.
If you’re concerned about how to deal with your trash, try wrapping up messy scraps and lining the bottom of your bins with newspaper and you’ll find you don’t even need plastic bags. Just remember, plastic bags were not popular before the 60s.
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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.
Jessica interned at Planet Ark in 2018. Studying Communication and minoring in Environmental Analysis and Policy at Boston University, she spent a trimester in Sydney Australia.