Clean Up Australia is claiming that delayed action on banning plastic bags is harming the Australian environment.
“State and federal governments are rightly taking the time to consult with consumers and businesses before finalising their action plans,” says Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond in a response to the claims.
“Banning plastic bags is a shortsighted response to the need for more effective education and support for consumers and the wider business community. It would also just increase the demand for alternative bags – the levy on bags in Ireland resulted in soaring sales of bin liners and other bags for household re-use.
“Plastic bags only account for 0.8 per cent of total litter – just three per cent of all plastic litter. The key issue is dealing with litter problems, not plastic bags.
“Through a range of sustained voluntary initiatives, large retailers have brought about significant change in behaviour and attitudes – reducing plastic bag usage by some three billion,” she says.
“According to a recent independent survey commissioned by ANRA, by and large, supermarket shoppers are doing the right thing when it comes to plastic bags. An overwhelming 93 per cent are re-using and recycling the bags they receive from supermarkets. Just three per cent throw out their supermarket plastic bags.
“Of the 93 per cent that are reusing and recycling their supermarket bags, 56 per cent reuse them in their home bins, 22 per cent put them in their home recycling and 10 per cent put them in recycling bins provided at many large outlets.
“Shoppers have clearly embraced the efforts of major retailers, governments and environmental groups to think about the way they use their bags. Two-thirds of customers also say they use re-usable bags – clearly the ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ message, implemented voluntarily by major retailers, has had an impact,” adds Osmond.