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Simon says we all love the plastic bag ban

By 24 January 2013 106

plastic bags

If we really all were enamoured of Simon Corbell’s plastic bag laws one would imagine he wouldn’t need to tell us about it.

A new survey of the use of plastic shopping bags in the ACT has shown that 70% of Canberrans want to see the ban of lightweight plastic bags continue while 66% of people would like the ban to be implemented nationally, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell said today.

“The interim review of the ban shows that 84% of Canberrans now carry a re-usable bag with them when doing their shopping instead of relying on bags at the counter,” Mr Corbell said.

The Government committed to an interim review of the ban on lightweight shopping bags after a 12 month period of the ban in operation.

A telephone survey of primary shoppers in 600 ACT households was conducted as part of the review and highlighted that the majority of shoppers from every age group supported the ban.

The review evaluated community acceptance, reduction in plastic bag use, environmental outcomes and retailer compliance.

Mr Corbell said a more broad ranging review would take place after two years of the operation of the lightweight plastic bag ban.

“This interim review gives us an important snapshot of the views in the ACT community about the ban, but after another 12 months we will be able to look more closely at trends of plastic bag use, and reductions of bags to landfill,” he said.

“I am pleased to see that during the first 12 months there were no infringements issued to retailers breaching the ban, and I encourage this good compliance behaviour to continue.”

Some might see a total absence of found infringements in less glowing terms.


UPDATE 24/01/13 13:40: Mayor Rattenbury has said he’d like the ban to go further:

“Unfortunately one unintended and perverse outcome of the ban, as it is currently legislated, is the provision of non compostable and thicker plastic bags as a replacement to the banned lightweight plastic type.

Mr Rattenbury said the legislation needs to be improved to ensure that fully compostable plastic bags are the only kind allowed in the ACT.

“In the interim report, 94% of people indicated that they would like all plastic bags to be completely biodegradable, and I’ll be pursuing an amendment to the legislation to make sure this happens.

“A current exemption in the legislation means that retailers can currently give customers compostable lightweight plastic bags for free. Rather than providing these bags retailers are getting around the legislation by simply providing, at a cost to the consumer, thicker non-compostable plastic bags.

“Many of the bags that are called ‘degradable’ simply break into a thousand plastic pieces and never actually biodegrade.

“All in all, these substitutes run the risk of defeating the purpose of the plastic bag ban”, said Mr Rattenbury.

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106 Responses to
Simon says we all love the plastic bag ban
Jim Jones 8:55 am
24 Jan 13
#1

Mr G, come on down!!!

Thumper 9:04 am
24 Jan 13
#2

Ah, has there ever been a more misguided feelgood policy.

If we are to do away with plastic bags then completely ban them, not have the current ridiculous situation where you can buy big, thick, heavy bags for 15 cents each, thus ensuring that plastic bags will be hanging around in landfill, etc for the next 100 years.

(And before anyone jumps up and down in indignation, I use hessian bags that I keep in the car when shopping)

neanderthalsis 9:12 am
24 Jan 13
#3

The perverse thing seems to be that I now seem to have a greater stockpile of plastic bags than I did in the halcyon days before the ban. I now buy bin liners for my bins instead of using the formerly free bags and when I do get plastic bags, even the 15c jobbies from the occasional purchase where green bags are forgotten, I stockpile them until their storage cylinder is full then use them for rubbish rather than reuse for groceries.

PantsMan 9:19 am
24 Jan 13
#4

Did Simon release the full survey? Typical scamming from Labor/Greens.

Johnboy, could you use your powers of persuasion to obtain the full survey from Simon and post it on the RA for us all to read?

davo101 9:20 am
24 Jan 13
#5

Thumper said :

Ah, has there ever been a more misguided feel-good policy.

Solar feed-in tariffs?

Mav 9:24 am
24 Jan 13
#6

What a load of rot the plastic bag ban is. I have more plastic bags now than I ever had before the only difference is I now have to purchase them, which is what the intent was all along from the big supermarket retailers. They now make a profit on selling plastic bags rather than giving them away and look at how there is a whole new industry around making plastic bags for sale in large quantities. Check out the number of different manufacturers offerings on the supermarket shelves for plastic bags.

Plastic bag usage has not changed in our household as we still use plastic bags in our waste bins the same way we use to with the free ones from the supermarkets.

bundah 9:30 am
24 Jan 13
#7

I’m concerned about the welfare of both Mr G & Henry BG.Suffocated by plastic bags perhaps?

chewy14 9:47 am
24 Jan 13
#8

Thumper said :

Ah, has there ever been a more misguided feelgood policy.

If we are to do away with plastic bags then completely ban them, not have the current ridiculous situation where you can buy big, thick, heavy bags for 15 cents each, thus ensuring that plastic bags will be hanging around in landfill, etc for the next 100 years.

(And before anyone jumps up and down in indignation, I use hessian bags that I keep in the car when shopping)

I love the new thick bags, you can fit more stuff in and they don’t break. Don’t know about how good they are for the environment though.

Have they actually released the questions and results of this survey? It might be right, but it doesn’t really fit with what I see when I go shopping.
If 84% of people are taking reusable bags with them, then surely the overall amount of bags being used has dropped dramatically.

Conan of Cooma 9:50 am
24 Jan 13
#9

Thumper said :

(And before anyone jumps up and down in indignation, I use hessian bags that I keep in the car when shopping)

Living in a primitive place like Cooma we are still permitted to use plastic bags – It’s fantastic! I don’t need to pay for tiny bin liners for the bins in the bathrooms/toilets, I don’t need to buy garbage bags for when I force the kids to consolidate and dispose of the dog crap in the backyard, AND I can fill them with my recyclables when I do big tip runs, as they are happily accepted.

Correct utilisation results in a saving of time and money with the threat of the death of whales. Kind of like dealign with the Japanese.

shirty_bear 9:53 am
24 Jan 13
#10

Mav said :

What a load of rot the plastic bag ban is. I have more plastic bags now than I ever had before the only difference is I now have to purchase them.

Same.

dtc 9:54 am
24 Jan 13
#11

I like how everyone assumes that if the supermarkets give you a plastic bag it is ‘free’. You reckon Coles doesnt cost the 10,000 bags it used to distribute every day?

I dont understand how people have more plastic bags than before – I have far less, have almost used up my previous stockpile.

zorro29 9:55 am
24 Jan 13
#12

i love the plastic bag ban…way back in uni days i worked as a check-out chick at coles and HATED the waste of plastic bags. people coming in and demanding only 1 soft drink bottle in a bag or stealing huge piles of them for god knows what reason. it’s just so wasteful. western europe has banned plastic bags (well charged for them) for over 15 years – we were way behind on this

Chop71 10:01 am
24 Jan 13
#13

66% less bags (that use 10 times the plastic) = we put more into landfill than we ever were.

kumadude 10:09 am
24 Jan 13
#14

Whilst in Adelaide I needed to pay for bags, but could not receive a logical answer as to why I am not FORCED to purchase vegetable bags.

arescarti42 10:12 am
24 Jan 13
#15

PLEASE, for god’s sake, no more plastic bag posts! I thought we’d left them for good back in 2012.

crackerpants 10:21 am
24 Jan 13
#16

I was in favour of the ban…but disturbingly, we now seem to be lining our bins (including the little ones in bedrooms/bathrooms) with bigger, thicker bags – the ones from DJs, clothing stores etc.

And if I pop out to get more goceries than will fit in my handbag, and I’ve forgotten a greenbag, I usually swing through DJs or somewhere where I know I’ll get a plastic bag first.

Trimega 10:26 am
24 Jan 13
#17

Plastic bag bans are stupid. I fail to see how making me pay for plastic bin liners is any more eco friendly than using plastic shopping bags. It’s a rort by plastic manufacturers and supermarkets!

muscledude_oz 10:39 am
24 Jan 13
#18

I can’t see how this is reducing plastic bag waste at the tip. People have simply switched to buying plastic bags to replace the free ones they received in order to have bin liners in the kitchen. I know that since the ban came in I have bought three large boxes of bags from Costco.

And doesn’t that so-called poll sound a bit suss to you? “70% of Canberrans support the ban”. A nice round figure, eh? It is all the more intriguing when you realise that since the ban came in we have had an ACT election where The Greens – who forced the ban – were almost completely wiped out.

Ben_Dover 10:56 am
24 Jan 13
#19

Just buy fish regularly, you get a free bag with that.

Gungahlin Al 11:27 am
24 Jan 13
#20

“If we really all were enamoured of Simon Corbell’s plastic bag laws one would imagine he wouldn’t need to tell us about it.”

I think the responses here are clear evidence why the release was needed – so those complaining can realise that they are in a shrinking minority. Meanwhile, the rest of us have adapted and moved on. And are using/dumping far fewer plastic bags.

dtc 11:50 am
24 Jan 13
#21

Trimega said :

Plastic bag bans are stupid. I fail to see how making me pay for plastic bin liners is any more eco friendly than using plastic shopping bags. It’s a rort by plastic manufacturers and supermarkets!

This assumes that every person re-uses 100% of the plastic bags they get at the shop. It stops the ‘leakage’ – people do not throw out the bags they buy.

And for people who complain they are now using thicker plastic (DJs) bags to line their bins – what were you doing with them before? Probably just storing them away in the cupboard or maybe every now and again throwing out a big bunch of them. Its not like you are now ‘wasting’ those bags, actually you are now reusing them.

HiddenDragon 11:56 am
24 Jan 13
#22

“If we really all were enamoured of Simon Corbell’s plastic bag laws one would imagine he wouldn’t need to tell us about it.” Hard to argue with that, and to which I would add: “If we really all were enamoured of the plastic bag laws, the Greens may not have copped quite such a walloping in last year’s election.”

Doubtless there were many factors at play in the Greens’ poor result last year, but I feel that, for many voters, the plastic bag ban would have been symbolic of a style of governing which is overly intrusive – without compelling need – into the daily lives of Canberrans and which, in the process, wastes public resources and political capital while other far more pressing needs are neglected or given insufficient priority. On the latter point, I hope that Simon is spending very little of our money on plastic bag police, and I really don’t care if there are still a few shops in this town which occasionally issue bags that are a few microns too thin. I will go on, as I have for quite some time, using my old green supermarket bags and recycled plastic bags – and buying bin liners.

Thumper 12:15 pm
24 Jan 13
#23

And for people who complain they are now using thicker plastic (DJs) bags to line their bins

Err no.

People were using thin plastic bags.

Really, really thin plastic bags.

astrojax 12:26 pm
24 Jan 13
#24

just ban rubbish and we wouldn’t need to ba plastic bags

PantsMan 12:27 pm
24 Jan 13
#25

Late January and now they are back at work spinning and stuffing everything before them.

I looked in the contracts register (www.procurement.act.gov.au) and there is no contract for an opinion survey on the Plastic Bag Ban.

Maybe Simon asked all his mates in the Labor Party?

Johnboy, seriously, could you put a call in to the Media Advisor and demand a copy of the survey?

Postalgeek 12:30 pm
24 Jan 13
#26

Jesus Christ, it’s not f***ing rocket science. It wasn’t just about reducing bags in infill. It was about bags not staying in tips.

A shop gives you items in a thin bag, you take the object out and throw the bag out = empty lightweight bag blowing out of tip

Shop gives you a heavier bag= bag more likely to stay in tip

Buy/recycle bag to put rubbish in = bag weighted and more likely to stay in tip

If everyone recycled their light plastic bags and used them as bin liners maybe it wouldn’t have been as such of a problem, but they didn’t. Instead we had light-weight plastic bags blowing all over the place. This is why we can’t have nice things.

BimboGeek 12:42 pm
24 Jan 13
#27

Maybe it depends on your lifestyle. If I walk to work I won’t bring shopping bags but then I might drop into the supermarket afterwards. I’m caught without a bag every week but generally I don’t need one so I don’t carry it.

The ban motivates me to keep shopping bags by the door and in my car but I just don’t reuse them like I should.

Good policy is slightly different from a good idea.

chewy14 12:54 pm
24 Jan 13
#28

The report and survey are on the Environment website if anyone wants to have a look.

http://www.environment.act.gov.au/waste/plastic_bags/interim_report

Support for the bag ban at 58%.

Interesting to see that the main reason given for their answer of supporting the ban or not was 53% for environmental concerns (important to reduce litter).
Second highest at 22% being the ban is the wrong approach and does nothing.
Third at 18% I now have to buy more bin liners
Fourth at 14% free plastic bags were more convenient.

69% don’t want the ban widened to include all plastic bags but 94% want bags to be biodegradeable.

I’ll be keen to read the final report to see the overall effect the ban has had on bag usage. Some hard data rather than survey data would be good to see.

Jivrashia 12:54 pm
24 Jan 13
#29

66% of people would like the ban to be implemented nationally,

Since when did we acquire that many tossers tree-huggers in Canberra?

switch 1:09 pm
24 Jan 13
#30

66% of people would like the ban to be implemented nationally,

Gees, I hope not. We now get all our bin-liner bags from relatives in other parts of Australia, who are only too pleased to give them away!

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