There have been a lot of different initiatives that have been brought up by various legislatures, some of them look possible but difficult to achieve, some of them look ridiculously simple to implement but never seem to get off the ground. Others still make you wonder why it hasn’t been in place for years already.
The ACT government in Australia have moved to ban plastic bans within the territory inside the next 12 months. This is not the first state or territory in Australia to come up with the ban. South Australia has already introduced the ban.
The ban is going to apply to the small lightweight bags that are used in supermarkets, grocery stores and takeaway shops. Although convenient, these plastic bags are a big waste problem.
According to studies the average Australian uses 345 plastic bags per year. This adds up to a massive landfill problem and the fact that plastic bags do not break down means that it is a problem that will be hanging around for the next 1000 years.
To replace the use of plastic bags retailers will be expected to provide reusable bags or biodegradable bags that can be used instead.
The ban will come into force by July 2011 by initiating a 4 month transition period to allow everyone to get used to the idea. Support for the idea has generally been positive with around 80 per cent of those surveyed in shopping centres supporting the idea.
Living in a different state and making use of the green reusable bags when we do our shopping, I think the transition should be a reasonably simple one. As long as you have a supply of bags in the car that are handy when you drop into the store to pick up a few items there should be no problem. The fact that the store also has to supply biodegradable bags means that there will be an option if you fail to bring your own bag.
By November 2011 the plastic bags will no longer be supplied and the transition phase will be over.