Australia

Victoria set to ban plastic bags next year

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Plastic bags used by retail stores, takeaway shops and small supermarkets will be banned by the end of next year under a Victorian government plan.

Lightweight plastic bags will be banned in Victoria by the end of next year under a state government plan.

Plastic bags used by retail stores, takeaway shops and small supermarkets will be targeted by legislation to be introduced by the Andrews government in 2019, the Herald Sun reports.

A discussion paper will be released on Wednesday - having flagged the bans in October 2017 - and comes as major supermarkets introduce their own ban on single-use bags.

 

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The move follows the ban of single-use plastic bags by major Australian supermarkets. On 20 June Woolworths stores nationwide implemented their 'Gone For Good' policy including Big W and liquor store BWS. 

The store said in a statement: "It's a commitment we made to help reduce our impact on the environment and will see the removal of more than 3.2 billion sing-use plastic bags from circulation every year."

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci hailed it as "a landmark day."

"We are proud to say that from now on, single-use plastic bags are gone from our stores, for good."

Mr Banducci acknowledged it could take shoppers a while to adjust to the ban.

Woolworths and Coles last July joined a push to rid Australia of disposable plastic bags and set a deadline of June 30, 2018 for their stores to stop offering them to shoppers. 

Major retailers in Queensland and Western Australia will on July 1 rollout a ban on single-use plastic bags, bringing the states in line with ACT, South Australia and Tasmania.

Green groups have welcomed the bans being introduced by Coles and Woolworths.

Similar bans in Britain and Ireland have helped reduce plastic bag usage by up to 85 per cent.

Woolworths and Coles have also recently announced plans to slash the amount of plastic wrapping on fresh fruit and vegetables in response to demand from shoppers. 

How to adjust to the changes

National Plastic Bag Campaign co-founder Jon Dee has some tips to help shoppers adjust.

What can I use instead to line my bins?

  • Rubbish can be put straight into bins, which should be washed every few weeks
  • Food and compostable items can go in compost bins, with recyclables into recycling bins
  • People who live in flats can wrap food and compostable items in newspaper before placing in a bin
  • Smelly rubbish like prawn shells can be wrapped in newspaper and frozen until rubbish collection night
  • Newspaper can also be used to line bathroom bins

What can dog owners use to clean up droppings?

  • A good alternative is empty bread bags as they are made of thicker plastic

What do I use to pack my supermarket shopping in?

  • Bring reusable bags to the shops
  • For the first few weeks leave the bags on the front seat of the car as a reminder to take them into the supermarket
  • Woolies and Coles will sell reusable bags priced from 15 cents in store
  • Woolies online shoppers will be able to buy reusable plastic bags for $1 per order or pay $3.50 for a crate-to-bench home delivery service
  • Coles online shoppers will have their goods delivered for free in crates or pay 15 cents for reusable bags

 

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