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Plastic shopping bags ban successful

By 5 June 2014 39

The ACT’s plastic shopping bags ban has resulted in a 36% decrease in the amount of plastic bags sent to landfill and is now supported by 65% of Canberra grocery shoppers, a review into the ban has found.

Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, tabled a review of the first two years of the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010 in the Legislative Assembly today.

“A review of the ban has justified the ACT government’s 2011 legislation banning the supply of single-use shopping bags made of polyethylene of 35 microns or less thickness,” Mr Corbell said.

A survey by Piazza Research in March 2014 of 602 people who were all the main grocery shopper in their household found 65% supported the ban, an increase of 7% over a similar survey held in September 2012, while those against the ban fell to 26% from 33%.

“Those supporting the ban said they did so for environmental reasons and agreed the ban has had a positive effect on the environment,” Mr Corbell said.

“Furthermore, 71% said they did not want the ban overturned and 68% said the ban should be implemented nationally.”

An analysis of shopping bag use by Canberra shoppers during six months from May to October 2013 has also shown significant benefits to the environment.

“Using information from major retailers in the territory, we estimated 171 tonnes of plastic bags were sent to landfill, a 36% decrease on the 266 tonnes sent to landfill in the six months prior to the ban.

“Another interesting finding is that while there was an initial increase in sales of bin liners immediately after the ban, sales have now fallen to pre-ban levels, which indicates people are reusing the thicker plastic bags for rubbish or other alternatives.

“The ACT is one of four states and territories to introduce a plastic shopping bag ban and is a prime example of how legislation can drive change and promote behavioural change by the community that improves the environment and reduces waste.”

The review is available at www.environment.act.gov.au

(Media Release Simon Corbell MLA)

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39 Responses to Plastic shopping bags ban successful
#1
Garfield5:20 pm, 05 Jun 14

Has Simon Corbell asked the super markets for information on their plastic rubbish bag sales from before and after the ban? Prior to the ban I used cloth bags most of the time and the few plastic shopping bags I brought home were used for rubbish.

#2
Maya1235:56 pm, 05 Jun 14

Garfield said :

Has Simon Corbell asked the super markets for information on their plastic rubbish bag sales from before and after the ban? Prior to the ban I used cloth bags most of the time and the few plastic shopping bags I brought home were used for rubbish.

Are you saying that you now buy plastic bags? Why have you changed your habits?
The ban made no difference to me. I didn’t bring plastic bags home before the ban, or buy plastic bags for the rubbish. Since the ban I still take my own bags shopping and don’t buy plastic bags for rubbish. I can find a waste plastic bag (toilet roll bag/ bread bag/ etc) for the one or two I use each two or three weeks.

#3
Pork Hunt6:03 pm, 05 Jun 14

I look forward to dolphins and sea turtles making a come back in LBG.

#4
davo1016:11 pm, 05 Jun 14

Garfield said :

Has Simon Corbell asked the super markets for information on their plastic rubbish bag sales from before and after the ban?

From the article:

Another interesting finding is that while there was an initial increase in sales of bin liners immediately after the ban, sales have now fallen to pre-ban levels

#5
bigfeet6:25 pm, 05 Jun 14

Wait..wait…let me grab a glass of wine…

OK..now I’m ready.

Let rip Mr G!

#6
Masquara7:54 pm, 05 Jun 14

What ban? I use three plastic bags at 10c each, every time I shop!

#7
Very Busy8:03 pm, 05 Jun 14

Any chance that we could have the wording of the questions that the 602 “main grocery shoppers” were asked? I am dubious. Not push polling by any chance was it?

#8
davo10110:03 pm, 05 Jun 14

bigfeet said :

Let rip Mr G!

Mr G’s thoughts are available via Twitter–if you dare.

Masquara said :

What ban?

Hilarious

Very Busy said :

Any chance that we could have the wording of the questions that the 602 “main grocery shoppers” were asked? I am dubious. Not push polling by any chance was it?

p.29 of the report.

#9
rommeldog5610:13 pm, 05 Jun 14

“The ACT’s plastic shopping bags ban has resulted in a 36% decrease in the amount of plastic bags sent to landfill and is now supported by 65% of Canberra grocery shoppers, a review into the ban has found.”

I wonder what scientifically based/proven method they used to calculate that ? Does the ACT Government have someone stationed at the tip to count the bags as they come in to go to landfill ???

“Furthermore, 71% said they did not want the ban overturned and 68% said the ban should be implemented nationally.”

Obviously, the 71% have not tried to do a weekly shop for a family of 4 or 5 people ! The number of reusable plastic bags you have to take in with u is absurd.

“Using information from major retailers in the territory, we estimated 171 tonnes of plastic bags were sent to landfill, a 36% decrease on the 266 tonnes sent to landfill in the six months prior to the ban.”

Well, how would the retailers know that ???? I can not possibly see how that sort of figure can be ascertained from retailers ?

Spin, spin, spin. Lies, lies and more dam lies from what is an inept ACT Government. Having said that, there is no doubt that the ban has benefited the environment – its just the dodgy figures and the spin that I intensely dislike. Buy hey, its the ACT Government – what more would one expect !

#10
rommeldog5610:27 pm, 05 Jun 14

Very Busy said :

Any chance that we could have the wording of the questions that the 602 “main grocery shoppers” were asked? I am dubious. Not push polling by any chance was it?

What, show the taxpayers – who funded the consultancy report – the contents, including the questions, extrapolations of stats, projections, etc ? You are surely joking, “Very Busy”. As taxpayers and those inconvenienced by the ban, we should just accept what the good Mr Corbell tells us without comment or query – and give thanks.

Nowdays, I deliberately get some meat from my local butcher so I can get one of those thicker, blue plastic bags, instead of buying my meat from Woollies/Coles. Not only is it better meat, but I take a perverse delight in filling it with rubbish and putting it in the green rubbish bin for kerbside collection !

I know, I know, its the rebel and non conformist in me I’m afraid. Still, I gotta help keep the kerbside rubbish collections going so I can get some value out of the potential tripling of my Annual Rates, the rapidly increasing ACT Government charges, my taxes being spent on the toy train set, etc.

#11
Pork Hunt10:41 pm, 05 Jun 14

One has to ask the question why none of the major supermarkets choose to give the bags away for free? As far as I know, the legislation does not state that the customer has to pay. Happy to be corrected on this.

#12
wildturkeycanoe7:57 am, 06 Jun 14

I get regular deliveries of plastic bags from my parents who live in N.S.W. They end up with too many and offload to us for bin liners in the toilet and many other things like – for kids to put their wet clothes in after a day at the swimming carnival, to place trout in before sticking in the esky and getting fish slime all over the beers, double wrapping prawn shells before putting in the kitchen tidy, spew bags for the back seat passengers in the car on long road trips….I could go on. Viva le-landfill!

#13
Maya1238:52 am, 06 Jun 14

rommeldog56 said :

“Obviously, the 71% have not tried to do a weekly shop for a family of 4 or 5 people !

The number of reusable plastic bags you have to take in with u is absurd.

Use cloth bags. They last for years. They are stronger too, so that they will hold more and you don’t need as many; possible third to half as many bags. But really, is it that much of a burden to gather up the bags before you go to the shops! It’s a lot less to carry the bags to the shops than what you will be carrying home.

#14
m_ratt8:57 am, 06 Jun 14

Pork Hunt said :

One has to ask the question why none of the major supermarkets choose to give the bags away for free? As far as I know, the legislation does not state that the customer has to pay. Happy to be corrected on this.

Nothing requiring them to pay, other than economics. The reusable bags are much sturdier, and obviously much more expensive to manufacture, distribute, etc. Providing them free of charge, in unlimited quantities would be a significant cost impost on the retailers, and additionally remove any incentive for reuse.

I’d be interested in the figures on soft plastic contamination in recycling collection as the sturdier bags are more widely used, and often mistakenly used to bundle recyclables into bins (you could find an example in every single recycling bin in my apartment complex, every week).

#15
KB19719:36 am, 06 Jun 14

Maya123 said :

rommeldog56 said :

“Obviously, the 71% have not tried to do a weekly shop for a family of 4 or 5 people !

The number of reusable plastic bags you have to take in with u is absurd.

Use cloth bags. They last for years. They are stronger too, so that they will hold more and you don’t need as many; possible third to half as many bags. But really, is it that much of a burden to gather up the bags before you go to the shops! It’s a lot less to carry the bags to the shops than what you will be carrying home.

Apparently it is but you cant let common sense get in the way of a big whinge!

#16
Grimm11:05 am, 06 Jun 14

davo101 said :

Garfield said :

Has Simon Corbell asked the super markets for information on their plastic rubbish bag sales from before and after the ban?

From the article:

Another interesting finding is that while there was an initial increase in sales of bin liners immediately after the ban, sales have now fallen to pre-ban levels

And I don’t believe that for a second. The entire review is based on speculation and guesswork. I’d suggest it is almost entirely fabricated to make the ban look like it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

#17
Sebastian Fernandez4:31 pm, 06 Jun 14

What have we have achieved by this bag ban ?
Nothing ?

OK….not quite nothing. I note that we’ve reduced the amount of plastic bags going to landfill. It was 266 tonnes before the ban, it’s now 171 tonnes.

The truth is, these aren’t really big numbers. The environmental impact was never great and now it’s a little bit less, but I figure many of the bags going to landfill are now the thicker variety.
And in reality the actual effect is irrelevant. This is about making people believe that they’re doing something for the good of mother earth.

Am I the only one who gets a great buzz from going to a supermarket in NSW and getting free bags at the checkout ?

#18
Maya1235:03 pm, 06 Jun 14

Sebastian Fernandez said :

Am I the only one who gets a great buzz from going to a supermarket in NSW and getting free bags at the checkout ?

I hand bags back. Don’t need them. No buzz.

#19
HiddenDragon5:59 pm, 06 Jun 14

Sebastian Fernandez said :

What have we have achieved by this bag ban ?
Nothing ?

OK….not quite nothing. I note that we’ve reduced the amount of plastic bags going to landfill. It was 266 tonnes before the ban, it’s now 171 tonnes.

The truth is, these aren’t really big numbers. The environmental impact was never great and now it’s a little bit less, but I figure many of the bags going to landfill are now the thicker variety.
And in reality the actual effect is irrelevant. This is about making people believe that they’re doing something for the good of mother earth.

Am I the only one who gets a great buzz from going to a supermarket in NSW and getting free bags at the checkout ?

Not so much a buzz, as a tantalising whiff of freedom (much preferable to the suffocating pong of nanny-state control-freakery). Long may it be so – at least until NSW Labor needs the support of a Green or two to form government in Macquarie Street.

#20
Masquara6:17 pm, 06 Jun 14

Grimm said :

davo101 said :

Garfield said :

Has Simon Corbell asked the super markets for information on their plastic rubbish bag sales from before and after the ban?

From the article:

Another interesting finding is that while there was an initial increase in sales of bin liners immediately after the ban, sales have now fallen to pre-ban levels

And I don’t believe that for a second. The entire review is based on speculation and guesswork. I’d suggest it is almost entirely fabricated to make the ban look like it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

The ACT Government never counts properly. Remember the pissoir last NYE? Katie Gallagher boasted that Canberra revellers in their thousands had used it. Then it turned out they were basing the stat on each drunkard – with pints of beer inside him – had produced a thimble full of wee-wee.

#21
bigfeet6:34 pm, 06 Jun 14

Maya123 said :

Sebastian Fernandez said :

Am I the only one who gets a great buzz from going to a supermarket in NSW and getting free bags at the checkout ?

I hand bags back. Don’t need them. No buzz.

At the self serve checkouts in NSW I only ever put one or two items in each plastic bag, and then I try to jam a couple of extra bags into each bag. My best effort was purchasing eight items and coming home with 38 bags.

A bit over two months worth of free bin liners from one trip across the border. Suckers!

#22
miz10:28 am, 07 Jun 14

I wonder if they have factored in the long term cost of back problems to check out chicks and chaps, who now have to overload grocery bags because people don’t want to pay for extra ones.

#23
Mr Gillespie10:51 am, 07 Jun 14

May I suggest that instead of a BAN, the bags be offered as an alternative? How is coercion and punishment of shopkeepers with fines and legal threats any good to the environment? All it does is force costs up.

Nannyism, fair and square. Don’t understand what nannyism is? Look it up!

#24
rosscoact12:12 pm, 07 Jun 14

Mr Gillespie said :

May I suggest that instead of a BAN, the bags be offered as an alternative? How is coercion and punishment of shopkeepers with fines and legal threats any good to the environment? All it does is force costs up.

Nannyism, fair and square. Don’t understand what nannyism is? Look it up!

It doesn’t force costs up, shops who are charging for bags are gouging and should be avoided.

#25
threepaws12:50 am, 08 Jun 14

bigfeet said :

Maya123 said :

Sebastian Fernandez said :

Am I the only one who gets a great buzz from going to a supermarket in NSW and getting free bags at the checkout ?

I hand bags back. Don’t need them. No buzz.

At the self serve checkouts in NSW I only ever put one or two items in each plastic bag, and then I try to jam a couple of extra bags into each bag. My best effort was purchasing eight items and coming home with 38 bags.

A bit over two months worth of free bin liners from one trip across the border.

Suckers!

You are not the only one! That is a great record and one I will now strive to break.

In all seriousness, I think the number of bags I send to landfill has doubled since the ban. I am happy to, and do, take reusable bags with me when shopping. This doesn’t change the fact that supermarket plastic bags are the right size and thickness (ie. not too thick) to line the little bins in my house, as well as a perfect size and strength for emptying kitty litter. You can’t buy bin bags of the same size and strength…

We occasionally cross the border to shop if we’re nearby (sorry ACT economy) and totally hoard the bags. My uncle brings me bags of bags from the bag bins outside of supermarkets in NSW. I find now that I have an excess of bags and use them in a frivolous manner. I have also started doing online shops because they deliver in plastic bags, albeit slightly thicker ones. So, again, sorry ACT economy – where I would used to happily do a fortnightly Woolies shop and duck down to my local IGA every day for the odd thing, now I need to get as much as I can in my Woolies online order to make the delivery fee worthwhile. You could say a bag ban has pushed me to online shopping and is potentially harming my local?

I used to have just the right amount of bags. I never wanted for any, and never ever threw them away. I don’t know anyone that used to throw bags away???

I’d love to know how ‘plastic bag theft’ has affected supermarkets in Queanbeyan and Batemans Bay. I bet their bag usage skyrocketed after the ACT ban was introduced.

#26
Grail12:03 pm, 08 Jun 14

I have fewer plastic bags to clean up from my lawn these days. Due to the layout of the street and my block, our front yard is a natural wind-trap for plastic bags.

So I for one am most pleased with the plastic bag ban.

#27
Masquara9:47 am, 09 Jun 14

During the initial debate on this, I hooked into a conversation among environmentalists who told me that the emissions involved in creating a single house brick are more than those needed to create a lifetime’s supply of plastic bags. Unfortunately, I don’t have a reference. But it sounds likely so, please, no sanctimonious “I don’t use plastic bags” posts on environmental grounds!

#28
Antagonist12:32 pm, 09 Jun 14

Mr Corbell is selling fertiliser again. Seriously, from which orifice does he pull these numbers from?

How has plastic bag usage changed around my household? It hasn’t really. Instead of a free bag I pay 10 cents for a super-thick and extra-strong plastic bag to carry my groceries back to the car – usually because I forgot (or could not be bothered) to pull a reusable baggie out of the boot upon arrival at the local shops. We buy rolls of scented bin liners every fortnight in the shopping instead of using those convenient free bags we used to get (and which I also grab by the handful whenever in Quangers). We have a massive supply of the $1 reusable bags as well.

All of them end up in the bin sooner or later. Sometimes full of household rubbish, sometimes full of recycling (time to collect the yellow bins weekly TaMS), and often full of dog sh!t from our Great Dane (the 10 cent extra thick never biodegrade bags are king here). Also filled with anything else my ‘clean freak’ wife decides needs to be turfed out. It does not matter if it is a little bag, big bag or a reusable bag. It will end up at Mugga Lane. The only thing that has changed is that I now have to pay Coles/Woolies for plastic bags that used to be given away for free, and they make some extra money from the addition of bin liners to the fortnightly shopping list.

#29
Grail8:00 am, 10 Jun 14

Masquara said :

During the initial debate on this, I hooked into a conversation among environmentalists who told me that the emissions involved in creating a single house brick are more than those needed to create a lifetime’s supply of plastic bags.

Do bricks blow out to sea and pollute it forever?

http://inhabitat.com/the-fallacy-of-cleaning-the-gyres-of-plastic-with-a-floating-ocean-cleanup-array/

#30
gazket10:16 am, 10 Jun 14

A survey of 602 people is hardly 65% of Canberra grocery shoppers. Labour constantly bullsh%$#$%ng the community .

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