Simon flies a kite on banning plastic shopping bags

By 24 May, 2010 40

Simon Corbell is tentatively suggesting he’s thinking about banning plastic shopping bags of less than 35 microns thickness.

Meaning we end up buying packs of plastic bags for putting garbage into, rather than getting them with the shopping.

While many people like to use re-usable bags instead of plastic ones it’s worth noting that those people are already free to do so.

Either way we’ll all manage some how and this way Mr Corbell gets to make more law, which seems to be what makes him happy.

Lightweight plastic shopping bags

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40 Responses to Simon flies a kite on banning plastic shopping bags
#1
clw4910:16 am, 24 May 10

I’d much rather he gave us green bins for garden waste!

#2
Gungahlin Al10:21 am, 24 May 10

Why can’t we just bring back the old paper shopping bags? According to most TV shows, they are still going fine in the US.
Couple them with the reusables for anything too heavy or cold goods and we’ll avoid the main problems with the paper option.
And that way we still have bin liners…

#3
XO_VSOP10:25 am, 24 May 10

How this guy is still in a position of power amazes me, he is one of the luckiest under the radar politicians around, on this call although I am all for environment, won’t make one bit of difference. It’s not like we have thousands of bags littering our streets and manmade lakes, killing birds ect

#4
trevar10:38 am, 24 May 10

What about the other option from the media release: to impose a levy on them? Seems perfectly logical to me. I’d happily pay a few cents for a plastic bag from the butcher, but do I have to pay for each little bag that the meat goes into, or just the big one that the little ones are then put in?

Anyway, I like what they think is “extensive consultation”… 560 houses… but the other question is whether the ban or levy would include the bags from the fruit and vegetable shop and the delicatessen, or just the bags with handles you get at the checkouts in supermarkets?

Anyway, not being able to to get free plastic bags from the supermarket would help me remember my reusable bags, which I often forget.

#5
p110:52 am, 24 May 10

What about the other option from the media release: to impose a levy on them?

My preferred option. Market forces will quickly show home much people value the use of bags. While I am all for the banning of them sometime in the future, I kind of think it is one of those things that should be taken gradually, so that peoples behaviours change in line with laws, not because of them.

Plus, we won’t need bin liners with NO WASTE BY 2010…

#6
Davo11111:02 am, 24 May 10

Does anyone smell burning books? its just one law after another…

I’m sick of making all these silly laws up. There are plastic bag recycling bins at most coles/woolies supermarkets, and more than enough opportunity to buy green bags.

#7
Grail11:05 am, 24 May 10

No Waste is something you are responsible for too, p1.

My household is slowly whittling through the collection of about 500 plastic shopping bags that we’re using for bin liners – we get more bags with shopping than we use for garbage. In the meantime we’ve shifted to using our own bags when going shopping.

I really miss the old paper bags. They could ripped up and thrown on the garden as a form of mulch. Plastic bags don’t help anyone.

#8
p111:55 am, 24 May 10

No Waste is something you are responsible for too, p1.

True, and I try had to buy products with minimal packaging, recycle, compost, but still end up with stuff in my wheelie bin each week.

#9
James-T-Kirk12:03 pm, 24 May 10

I Agree – Bring back the paper bags

If they cost more than the plastic ones, just hike the cost of the stuff we purchase to cover it.

#10
MsCheeky2:11 pm, 24 May 10

I recall hearing somewhere that paper bags were environmentally costly to manufacture, that plastic bags were better on that basis. Of course, that doesn’t take account of the rogue plastics strangling wildlife etc.

But for goodness sake, I use the plastics to clear dog debris, as a bin liner and a myriad of other uses. If I can’t get them with my shopping, I’m going to buy a box of plastic bags. So where does that leave me – what’s the difference? Yes, I have green bags and use them, but if I drop into the supermarket to get dinner items at lunchtime and don’t have one, what am I supposed to do? If I buy more than I planned and don’t have enough green bags, what am I supposed to do? I’m happy to pay for them on a unit basis.

And sometimes, it’s good to be over the border in NSW – go the green recycling bin. Between the green bin, my worm farm, chickens and dogs, I’m not throwing a lot away, so I don’t feel an ounce of guilt about using plastic bags as bin liners.

I recall hearing a CSIRO scientist on the radio a few years ago says that if I, to be environmentally responsible, just left my car at home and took a bus or train for one trip to Sydney, I was welcome to a lifetime supply of plastic bags. This stupid plan to ban them makes me cranky.

#11
CanberraCreative3:04 pm, 24 May 10

Instead of banning them legislate that all bags used by ACt retailers be made of biodegradable materials like corn-starch. Most respectable retailers already do this.

#12
Postalgeek3:34 pm, 24 May 10

MsCheeky said :

But for goodness sake, I use the plastics to clear dog debris, as a bin liner and a myriad of other uses. If I can’t get them with my shopping, I’m going to buy a box of plastic bags. So where does that leave me – what’s the difference?

The difference is you take an empty plastic bag, put something in it, and then dispose of it. For many people who receive their shopping in plastic bags, they take a plastic bag with something in it, empty it, and then dispose of it. When those bags hit the tip and are exposed to winds, there’s a big difference between the behaviour of a bag with something in it and a bag without something it.

#13
krats4:04 pm, 24 May 10

clw49 said :

I’d much rather he gave us green bins for garden waste!

Even “QUEANBEYAN”has these bins.Yet in the nations capital city we do not.How pathetic!
People seem to forget that we already pay for each plastic bag.the cost of the bag is incorporated into each and every item placed on the shelve of supermarkets.along with the cost of wages and freight Etc Etc.

Since the introduction of reusable cloth (green) bags-Has the price of food fallen? NO.
The supermarkets are saving a small fortune.as the guilt trip that they put on us to say no plastic bag for me.I will give you a couple of dollars for a GREEN BAG.screw em.
GIVE ME PLASTIC,IVE ALREADY PAID FOR IT.

#14
shirty_bear4:42 pm, 24 May 10

Stupid nanny state …. plastic shopping bags are ideal domestic garbage bags, simple. If they stop giving them to me, I’ll just have to buy them. Probably even buy the exact same bags …. 500 of them delivered for $25 (says a quick look at ebay).

#15
krats5:23 pm, 24 May 10

Oh! and by the way…what has happened to “no waste by 2010″.-Just another lie.Kate(noddy)has at least gone!

#16
DBCooper6:26 pm, 24 May 10

What isn’t Banned in Australia yet? Seriously? Can you think of anything?

You can’t even own a fucking laser pointer lol.

#17
georgesgenitals7:25 pm, 24 May 10

Just mandate the use of biodegradable bags.

How hard is it?

#18
bd848:30 pm, 24 May 10

CanberraCreative said :

Instead of banning them legislate that all bags used by ACt retailers be made of biodegradable materials like corn-starch. Most respectable retailers already do this.

They have not developed a biodegradable plastic bags, the bags you are talking about are degradable i.e. they will eventually break down in about 20 or so years.

shirty_bear said :

Stupid nanny state …. plastic shopping bags are ideal domestic garbage bags, simple. If they stop giving them to me, I’ll just have to buy them. Probably even buy the exact same bags …. 500 of them delivered for $25 (says a quick look at ebay).

Well yes if you want plastic bags you should have to buy them. People currently think it’s their god-given right to have a free plastic bag with their shopping no matter how few things they buy. I worked in a supermarket for years and you’d be amazed at just how many absolute morons there are out there who want a plastic bag for things like a chocolate bar, a packet of cigarettes, a packet of chips, a bottle of milk complete with handle or one loaf of bread.

I don’t mind which way they do it, with a levy or with a complete ban. People will have to get used to not getting their prized plastic bags, a ban is likely eventually.

#19
cleo9:26 pm, 24 May 10

CanberraCreative # 11
+1

#20
olfella9:32 pm, 24 May 10

Why not ban cigarettes or petrol? They are just as bad for the environment. The whole idea is impracticable. Better still why not ban politicians that come up with crazy proposals?

#21
Deano11:57 pm, 24 May 10

krats said :

Oh! and by the way…what has happened to “no waste by 2010″.-Just another lie.Kate(noddy)has at least gone!

It turned out that it was only an ‘aspiration’ target – what you rename a target that you are about to fail to meet.

#22
canberrabramberra1:55 am, 25 May 10

This is the most insane suggestion, the fact so many people voted yes on this is frightening. The government should have nothing to do with what bags I use. We need a libertarian party in Australia

#23
Ceej19736:17 am, 25 May 10

As Greens leader Bob Brown recently quoted, “humans will ultimately chose the fate of earth themselves”, or s.th to that effect. Unfortunately, every human on earth has a different opinion on how they should or shouldnt protect the environment, and the system that we have to contol popular opinion/s (Governments)usually have their own opinion or agenda to protect too.

#24
krats9:57 am, 25 May 10

georgesgenitals said :

Just mandate the use of biodegradable bags.

How hard is it?

That unfortunately falls under the common sense category.That was issued at birth-but is now an optional extra.That very few choose!

#25
krats10:07 am, 25 May 10

Well yes if you want plastic bags you should have to buy them. People currently think it’s their god-given right to have a free plastic bag with their shopping no matter how few things they buy. I worked in a supermarket for years and you’d be amazed at just how many absolute morons there are out there who want a plastic bag for things like a chocolate bar, a packet of cigarettes, a packet of chips, a bottle of milk complete with handle or one loaf of bread.

I don’t mind which way they do it, with a levy or with a complete ban. People will have to get used to not getting their prized plastic bags, a ban is likely eventually.

The plastic bags are NOT FREE.read my earlier post.If you didn’t know that… you have never worked in a supermarket-or you are a complete ignoramus.

#26
Spinney Woods11:24 am, 25 May 10

I find it curious that a lot of people are saying they need these bags for bin liners. Let’s see….cardboard, paper, cans and bottles go in the recycling bin and if they’re washed don’t require a plastic bag to protect the bin. Food scraps and organic waste can and should be composted by everyone and reused in the garden and what’s left should be just annoying plastic wrapping etc which are all ‘clean’ waste.

Ban them I say. They’re an enviromental nightmare. We survived for plenty of years without them before they were invented so we can do it again.

#27
housebound12:44 pm, 25 May 10

Does that mean we lose those small plastic bags for fruit and veg, fish and meat? Will butchers paper go up in price as we all start to rely on it again? Does it mean we no longer can have our meat, with blood leaking from the packaging, in a separate bag? Will supermarkets have to take more care in their packaging?

More seriously, here’s a link to the federal reasoning: http://www.ephc.gov.au/taxonomy/term/54. The RIS documents make for interesting reading.

#28
emd1:50 pm, 25 May 10

The ban does not apply to small no-handle bags used to hold fruit & veg or meat products. It applies to bags with handles (said the radio news yesterday afternoon).

I hope it won’t apply to cornstarch bags, which are compostable, but will apply to epi-bags which are degradable but not biodegradable.

As a retailer and as a consumer, I prefer a ban rather than a levy. A levy would be minimal (5-10c per bag, according to the news reports) and would not change consumer choices. The levy would add to administrivia for retailers collecting it on behalf of government (as if GST isn’t enough), and has the potential for time-consuming and costly legal challenges by the lobbying group representing supermarket owners. An outright ban is simpler to implement and more likely to reduce the number of plastic bags consumers take home with their shopping.

In my own shop, I’ve tried cornstarch bags in the past but now use brown paper bags and also sell cornstarch and hemp shopping bags, and people seem quite happy with this. In fact, I just had a customer tell me that she thinks a ban on plastic bags is the best way to get people into the habit of remembering to BYO.

#29
Lazy I2:18 pm, 25 May 10

I love this topic, the supermarkets made a killing out of it.

Everyone switched to the ‘green bags’ (colour only) to avoid the scorn in the shopping queue from environmental pundits feeding the hype to ‘do the right thing’.

The best bit is, people started paying for these bags, $1+ each!.. and guess what.. they are made from plastic! and take longer to biodegrade than regular plastic bags. Sure people have started re-using them.. (pat on the back, keep saving your pennies, a Prius is within reach!) but has anyone noticed the changing colour of the landfill at Mugga lane? that’s not astroturf!.

+1 for comment #11, this problem was solved long ago.

#30
Woody Mann-Caruso2:32 pm, 25 May 10

Even “QUEANBEYAN”has these bins.Yet in the nations capital city we do not.How pathetic!

Yes, let’s have an army of taxpayer-funded trucks driving around to remove green waste you could just mulch or compost on site.

I doubt a levy would truly cover the full costs of using empty bags. And the bin liner argument? Give me a break. “I don’t just throw the bags away. I position them near other rubbish first, then throw them away! It’s totally recycling!”

Once you’ve dutifully recycled your paper, cardboard boxes and bags, steel cans, glass jars, PET containers and compostable scraps, you should have SFA to throw out anyway. If you don’t, then society doesn’t need to prop up your wasteful habits with free, non-degradable gift wrapping for your trash.

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