With Coles and Woolworths both announcing on 14 July their phasing out of single-use lightweight plastic bags in stores around the country over the next 12 months, it appears the battle to ban those bags has been won. Wildlife Queensland welcomes the supermarkets’ decision but recommends it as a first step only in winning the war on plastic waste.
“As Woolworths alone is currently giving out 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags per year, these are very welcome and significant announcements,” said Toby Hutcheon, leader of Wildlife Queensland’s plastics campaign.
“The supermarkets’ decision makes a national ban more likely and we commend the two chains for taking this positive step,” he said.
“There are now only three Australian states – NSW, Victoria and Western Australia – that are yet to ban lightweight plastic bags. It’s imperative that those state governments act to ban the bag, too,” said Hutcheon.
As welcomed as these recent decisions were, however, Wildlife Queensland believes Woolworths and Coles should go beyond their plans to introduce thicker 55-micron bags at a 15 cent charge and urges the chains to replace these with genuinely reusable bags so that the whole community is encouraged to adapt to this fully proven solution.
The safest alternative to the lightweight single-use plastic bag for our wildlife is the BYO reusable bag that shoppers bring with them – a simple and practical solution to this wasteful and deadly pollution.
Wildlife Queensland recommends that all retailers see these bans as merely the first step in an ongoing movement to further reduce the use of single-use, disposable plastics in our state.