Australia Has Cut Its Plastic Bag Use By 80 Percent In Just 3 Months

Plastic bags are everywhere these days, and while they may seem like a cheap, easy way to carry your goods, they are wreaking havoc on the planet in a number of ways.

Therefore, Australia has taken some new steps to eliminate plastic bags from their nation.

According to Australia’s National Retail Association, Australia has reduced the habit of plastic bags by up to 80 percent. This has been done within a very short period which is three months of time. Therefore, this would become a piece of very great news for platypuses, dugongs, and pig-nosed turtles.

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There are no government authorities who have directly implement policies for plastic bag consumption. The decision was taken by the businesses itself. So this issue has taken into consideration by the largest supermarket chains call Coles and Woolworths. So they have decided to implement this decision countrywide in order to ban on free lightweight plastic grocery bags in July and substituting them with reusable bags sold for 15 cents.

Totally, it has successfully prevented as many as 1.5 billion bags from inflowing the environment.

“Retailers deserve an enormous amount of kudos for leading the way on one of the most significant changes to consumer behavior in generations and we also applaud shoppers for embracing this environmental initiative,” David Stout, Manager of Industry Policy at the National Retail Association, said in a statement.

“Nation-wide retailers have led the way and as a result also assisted smaller businesses in providing a template on how to 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.”

However, the phase-out of lightweight plastic bags down under is being followed by authorities on a regional level, as opposed to national, but plastic bag consumption is still happening in most states and territories in Australia excluding the eastern state of New South Wales.

However, Implementing and following these decisions have not been an easy task for the big Aussie because Coles appeared slowly reluctant to impose the ban. Apart from that their plans have changed several times due to shoppers objected to the change.

“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,” added Stout.

Many countries around the world have embraced banning the use of plastic bags in a bid to control environmental pollution.

Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags in 2002. China, Israel, South Africa, the Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritania, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Albania, and Georgia have since implemented similar bans.

Other countries are experimenting with mandatory minimum charges or voluntary phase-outs for plastic bags. For example, the UK has a mandatory 5-pence charge for plastic bags

However, China and Indonesia are the top sources of plastic bottles, bags and other rubbish clogging up global sea lanes. Together, both nations account for more than a third of plastic detritus in global waters,

In 2010, 8.8 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste came from China with an estimated 3.53 million metric tons of it ending up in the ocean. A total of 3.2 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste came from Indonesia and it is estimated that 1.29 million metric tons became plastic marine debris. The United States is also guilty of polluting oceans with plastic, but at a much lower level than China. Annually, 0.11 million metric tons of waterborne plastic garbage comes from the United States.

With the issue of plastic bags and the state of the environment being such big topics these days, therefore, you are open to sharing any opinions, notes, or suggestions that you may have in the comments section below.

credit: statista.com