Australia Has Cut Its Plastic Bag Use By 80% In Just Three Months

plasticbag

Pixabay/PA

If you’ve read the news this week, or watched it in digestible, cool, flashy video form on Facebook, you’ll have heard the planet is kinda f***ed, lol.

As in, almost beyond repair f***ed. Tons of scientists no average person has heard of have been saying it all year, but our ears only really pricked when David Attenborough piped up before the UN and said aye fam we really need to be changing our attitudes towards the environment and the future of civilisation.

It’s not exactly getting us in the spirit for Christmas or the new year, is it, all this talk of doom and gloom? But fear not, change is on the way. At least in Australia.

You might be inclined to think our brothers and sisters down under are just the offspring of criminals sent to colonies, but you’d not only be highly-judgemental in that belief but wrong, too. It turns out Aussies are woke AF when it comes to plastic.

The country has managed to slash its plastic bag usage by 80 per cent in just three months, according to the National Retail Association.

How? Two of Australia’s biggest supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths (lest we forget) implemented a nationwide ban on free lightweight shopping bags in July, choosing to flog instead reusable bags for 15 cents.

It is believed to have saved as many as 1.5 billion bags from entering the environment. David Stout, Manager of Industry Policy at the National Retail Association revealed all in a statement.

He said:

The decision by certain retailers to no longer offer free single use plastic carry bags certainly received a hostile response from some shoppers initially, but these retailers deserve credit for dramatically reducing the number of bags in circulation.

The NRA has calculated that 1.5 billion bags have been saved since July 1 when Queensland banned the single use plastic carry bag.

The bulk of shoppers now use their own bags, which has been instrumental in reducing the number of plastic bags being consumed. Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent.

Plastic environmentSEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

He added:

Retailers deserve an enormous amount of kudos for leading the way on one of the most significant changes to consumer behaviour in generation and we also applaud shoppers for embracing this environmental initiative.

The major supermarkets have also diverted the profits from the sales of alternative bags to the community sector, with groups such as Landcare, Clean Up Australia, Little Athletics Australia, SecondBite and Guide Dog being the beneficiaries.

Nation-wide retailers have led the way and as a result also assisted smaller businesses in providing a template on how manage the transition to a plastic bag-free retail environment. As a result, we are seeing similar changes made across the food, homeware and service categories.

I’m sure Sir David will be delighted.

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