Let’s talk: Should we ban plastic bags for good? 244



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Plastic bags are a staple of our shopping experience, but could we live without them? England has just imposed a ban from today on plastic bags, prompting us to consider whether Australia should have a country-wide ban.

Britons wanting to bag their groceries from today will be slapped with a 5p fee to use a plastic bag, although it applies only to shops or chains with 250 or more full-time employees.

Plastic bags at airport shops or on board trains, planes or ships, will not be included, and neither will paper bags, reports the BBC.

Figures collected by UK waste-reduction body Wrap found that 7.64 billion plastic bags were used in the last year in England, so the ban makes sense.

The government hopes to see an 80% reduction in plastic bag use in supermarkets, and a 50% fall on the high street.

There are some exemptions to the plastic bag ban, and you will not be charged if you buy live fish, knives, meat, poultry, fish, medications, flowers or fast food.

Currently, South Australia, Tasmania, The Australian Capital Territory and The Northern Territory all have imposed a ban saving an estimated 400 million plastic bags each year, but is that enough?

It’s an initiative that not only supports the reduction of landfill but also the abundance of wildlife in Australia.

It’s very clear that as Australians we each need to take responsibility for our actions. I know I’m guilty of leaving my green shopping bags in the car when I go to the supermarket and wrongly, I put going out to get them again in the ‘too hard basket’.

So should we see Australia face plastic bag bans right around the country? Can you live without plastic bags? If you’re already somewhere without them, was it a big adjustment or has it been easy? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

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  1. We haven’t used plastic bags in South Australia for years. We all take our “green bags” with us to the supermarket each time we visit. If we forget to take them, then biodegradable plastic bags are available at a cost from the supermarket checkout.

    6 REPLY
    • no they make money selling you a plastic bag for shopping & another one for your rubbish bin double dipping load of crap

    • I think SA has the right idea. I stopped using plastic bags quite some time ago and keep my green cotton bags in the boot of my car. The shopping is much easier to carry in those, quite apart from environmental considerations.

  2. I hardly ever use a plastic bag nowadays, I leave my green bags in the car so they are there when I go shopping.

  3. I’m going to have trouble leaving the supermarket with my purchases balancing on my head. “Every problem has within itself the seeds of its own solution” The plastic couldn’t get any thinner – so the answer is in the life span of the bag. Some so flimsy they don’t even make it home. Set a national prize for the best plastic bag solution. Shame the CSIRO and other scientists have been closed down or had their funding severely cut.

    3 REPLY
  4. If they are recyclable I can’t see why not however if they aren’t then yes they should be banned, Aldi has the best idea no plastic bags at all except the ones they sell for 15 cents which are recyclable although I have to admit I do get a bit pissed when I go and have forgotten to take my green bags and need to buy more of their plastic ones, I have so many of their plastic ones now I’ve often thought I should stand out the front of the store and sell em for 10 cents

  5. Absolutely! There is plastic in everything these days and shopping bags…well…. even tho SA has stopped the supply of bags and shoppers (at supermarkets) are encouraged to bring their own re-usable bags, there are still those shoppers who do not bother and purchase plastic bags at the checkout – seems to defeat the whole concept, there should be no bags available at all at checkouts

    4 REPLY
    • a way for super markets to make more money, sell the bags & you have to buy your green bag as well

    • Respectfully disagree Ruth. I don’t drive so I don’t have a car to leave bags in and if I am out and do an unplanned trip to the supermarket I do need to be able to take my purchases home in something, as you cannot carry everything loose in your arms!

    • Caryn I hear you but I always have two bags in my handbag, they are light parachute silk (Woolies sell them) and they take up no room at all – it is not dificult

    • I have seen the eensy-weensy ones in Woolies that fold up but you would be lucky to get a couple of oranges in them. My Woolies obviously doesn’t stock the ones you have … however I did a web search and found these http://www.ecosilkbags.com.au/ecosilk/ecosilk1.html and they could be worth investing in. They do fold up very small and are better than the germy green recycled ones.
      I would still be buying plastic bags for rubbish though so that is just one of two problems solved LOL. They need to invent a viable rubbish bag that is environmentally sound.

  6. I live in Queensland and I haven’t used plastic bags for maybe 10 years. I have my green bags I use for groceries and I made myself a nice embroidered calico bag for other shopping. Not hard and no big deal. Plastic bags should be banned in every state in Australia.

    6 REPLY
    • I always have my green bags on the front seat when shopping. I think it has made a huge difference but unfortunately still too much plastic blowing around.

    • Rob you cannot put loose rubbish into your bins … our council won’t allow it and there are some types of rubbish that cannot be left unwrapped also. Not everyone gets free newspapers so I have no idea what everyone thinks we should put it in. I live in a block of flats and we also have no outdoor facilities to wash a bin out and you can imagine how filthy and germ-ridden it would be if (presuming our council changed their rules) we were to throw loose rubbish in there.

    • They should get one big plastic bag fitting in to the bin then put loose rubbishing bin and pull some strings at two sides to close. At least less plastic bags.

  7. So we can put all the plastic wrappings from the super market foods straight in the trash and everything will be OK! Right? Hypocrites!

  8. I have my green bags in the car, but have managed to forget to grab them a few times. I remember (& it wasn’t too long ago), when they used to put the groceries into large, strong paper bags. Only ever a problem if the ice cream was on the bottom and the bag got wet. Hate plastic bags.

    1 REPLY
    • Plus there were no handle on the paper bags … LOL try getting 3 or 4 of them onto a bus or tram!

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