Author: Liam Taylor
The ban on single-use plastic bags has resulted in Woolworths cutting 600 million bags from circulation in the first three months since it was implemented. On a cumulative basis this adds up to over 2.4 billion plastic bags being diverted from landfill or entering our natural environment.
Before announcing the ban, Woolworths had revealed that it gave away approximately 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags to customers every year. Mounting pressure led to both Coles and Woolworths (representing over 70% of market-share among supermarkets) announcing bans on the bags along with other measures aimed at reducing single-use plastic consumption. Coles is yet to reveal the results of its own bag ban.
Whilst these numbers are very impressive, they must also be taken with a grain of salt. The number of reusable, heavy-duty plastic bags and fabric alternatives sold by Woolworths has not been revealed and neither have the number of purpose-made garbage bags sold.
Waste expert Dr Trevor Thornton told The New Daily that until these figures are disclosed, it is hard to determine whether the changes are having positive environmental impacts.
“I’d like to see the supermarkets publicly release figures on how many reusable plastic bags and reusable fabric bags they’ve sold, how many garbage bags they’ve sold, and how much money they’ve donated to various environmental causes,” said Dr Thornton.
Remember, the best reusable bag is the bag you already have!
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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.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.