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Goodbye old friend. Plastic shopping bags enter new phase of regulation

By johnboy - 1 July 2011 32

plastic bag

The ABC has a story on the phase out of plastic shopping bags kicking off today.

There will be a four month transition period for businesses, before plastic bags are completely banned in November.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell says shops can supply bags during the transition period.

“As long as they also provide an alternative which is permitted under the legislation such as a reusable bag or a biodegradable bag or a paper bag,” he said.

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32 Responses to
Goodbye old friend. Plastic shopping bags enter new phase of regulation
Watson 9:37 am 02 Jul 11

breda said :

And, if I find a sudden upsurge in dog poo all around the streets, I am blaming the Greens. Or perhaps some canny manufacturer will start making plastic doggy-poo bags to replace the shopping bags that responsible dog owners currently stuff in their pocket when taking Fido for a walk.

Err… they have been on sale ever since the laws about picking up dog poo came in? They even come in handy dispensers that you clip on to the leash. I personally don’t know anyone who uses shopping bags to pick up poo as they very often have holes in them. As anyone who uses them as bin liners would know.

I usually get my “big shop” stuff delivered. Woolies tends to put a couple of items in each bag. But Coles only gave me a bag for the freezer/fridge stuff. Which I was quite pleased about.

merlin bodega 9:11 am 02 Jul 11

breda said :

“Ask you parents/grandparents what they did back in the day without these ‘bin liners’.”

My mother (who did not work outside the home) went shopping at least 3 times a week because she couldn’t carry it all in one go. And she didn’t have a car. Ah, happy times, eh, let’s all go back to the good old days – NOT.

It is worth pointing out that not only is this a free bonanza for the makers of bin liners, but that bin bags make no claim to being biodegradable.

And, if I find a sudden upsurge in dog poo all around the streets, I am blaming the Greens. Or perhaps some canny manufacturer will start making plastic doggy-poo bags to replace the shopping bags that responsible dog owners currently stuff in their pocket when taking Fido for a walk.

More stupid gesture politics to make a certain segment of the community feel even more smug and virtuous by inconveniencing the community at large.

+1

breda 12:11 am 02 Jul 11

“Ask you parents/grandparents what they did back in the day without these ‘bin liners’.”

My mother (who did not work outside the home) went shopping at least 3 times a week because she couldn’t carry it all in one go. And she didn’t have a car. Ah, happy times, eh, let’s all go back to the good old days – NOT.

It is worth pointing out that not only is this a free bonanza for the makers of bin liners, but that bin bags make no claim to being biodegradable.

And, if I find a sudden upsurge in dog poo all around the streets, I am blaming the Greens. Or perhaps some canny manufacturer will start making plastic doggy-poo bags to replace the shopping bags that responsible dog owners currently stuff in their pocket when taking Fido for a walk.

More stupid gesture politics to make a certain segment of the community feel even more smug and virtuous by inconveniencing the community at large.

I-filed 11:28 pm 01 Jul 11

Camden said :

I haven’t used a plastic bag in over a year. .

Canberra’s plastic bags do not end up in the ocean causing harm to marine wildlife, and biodegradable bags will break down in landfill. So there is no need to ban them here.

Supermarkets have the option of providing paper bags – which they should. In fact, Ainslie IGA used to do exactly that, only a few years ago.

Camden 8:21 pm 01 Jul 11

I-filed said :

poisonivy said :

Calm down, people.

Shops will supply biodegradable bags. It’s not the end of the world.

.

Well sort of. Ainslie IGA tried to restrict me to two bags today – I wanted the meat in a separate bag. Once two were filled, the checkout operator plonked five jars of yoghurt and several other items on the counter and expected me to take those away bagless! I re-use my shopping bags so I don’t have to buy bin liners. If the Libs promise to bring back shopping bags I will vote for them.

Wow, you’d really vote one way on such a minor single issue??

I haven’t used a plastic bag in over a year. Ask you parents/grandparents what they did back in the day without these ‘bin liners’. Believe me, you’ll cope (and you don’t need to buy them).

madamcholet 8:14 pm 01 Jul 11

Just what did we do before the prolific manufacture of plastic bloody bags? .

What is wrong with remembering to take a bag to the shops with you. Keeping one in your workbag to be able to take to the supermarket on your way home when you pick up the milk or shock horror, keeping bags in the boot of the car for the big shop.

My mother in law is like some of the commentators on this thread.,,…believes that walking to the car with a few items in her arms is just not possible. Some stores such as Target now make you pay for a bag which makes you think twice – even if it does go to charity.

In the UK where I come from, bags were charged for at the checkouts of supermarkets long ago, so you brought your own. Shopping trolleys worked on a coin deposit system – NO ONE DIED.

Watson 6:03 pm 01 Jul 11

poisonivy said :

Calm down, people.

Shops will supply biodegradable bags. It’s not the end of the world.

And if you have a problem with food packaging, buy the stuff without it. It’s probably going to be better for you.

I can’t find anything useful about this through Google, but I once heard in a doco that biodegradable bags are the cause of massive deforestation in some poor countries (this particular example was Madagascar). They are made of agricultural products and so obviously need to be grown somewhere and in this case I heard off it was at the expense of the local rainforest. So are we shifting the problem by moving to bio-degradable bags? It’s a question worth asking first…

Skidbladnir 5:35 pm 01 Jul 11

Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010
Section 6: What is a plastic shopping bag?
In this Act:
plastic shopping bag
(a) means—
(i) a bag that is made (in whole or in part) of polyethylene with a thickness of less than 35 microns; or
(ii) a bag prescribed by regulation to be a plastic shopping bag…

Section 7: Retailer not to supply plastic shopping bags
(1) A retailer commits an offence if—
(a) the retailer supplies a plastic shopping bag to a customer of the retailer; and
(b) the plastic shopping bag is supplied for the customer to carry goods bought, or to be bought, from the retailer.
Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.
(2) An offence against this section is a strict liability offence.

Dictionary:
retailer means a person who sells goods in trade or commerce.

1) The law bans bags less than 35 microns from being provided to customers.
a) 35micron is the standard thickness of an Australian supermarket bag, this only really bans ones that have a thin spot of less than 35 micron at some place on them.
b) If you enjoy choking seals and turtles:
i) 50 micron plastic bags aren’t hard to find.
ii) Nor are certified minimum thickness 35 micron bags.
No law prevents you from buying your own, and the Regulation doesn’t declare these things to be ‘plastic shopping bags’, only that products offered as biodegradable plastic bags need to meet the current Australian Standard for biodegradable bags.

2) The law specifies that no retailer may supply a plastic shopping bag (ie: less than 35 micron) to a customer for the purpose of carrying goods bought at the retailer’s own store.
a) No part of the Law prevents Woolworths (a retailer) from putting out 35micron bags for Coles (a different retailer) customers to use, etc.
b) No part of the Law prevents Woolworths (a retailer) from giving a customer bags directly, just so long as the customer doesn’t use them ‘to carry goods bought, or to be bought, from the retailer’.
b) No part of the Law prevents Shopping Centre management (or service providers, or even the courtesy desk) supplying 35micron bags to patrons of the Centre, as Centre Management is not a retailer.

Nitpicky yes, but someone needs to think outside the square for these people.
Laws with abusable loopholes are laws in need of improvement.

I-filed 4:40 pm 01 Jul 11

poisonivy said :

Calm down, people.

Shops will supply biodegradable bags. It’s not the end of the world.

.

Well sort of. Ainslie IGA tried to restrict me to two bags today – I wanted the meat in a separate bag. Once two were filled, the checkout operator plonked five jars of yoghurt and several other items on the counter and expected me to take those away bagless! I re-use my shopping bags so I don’t have to buy bin liners. If the Libs promise to bring back shopping bags I will vote for them.

colourful sydney rac 4:17 pm 01 Jul 11

ActuAli said :

I can understand the reasoning behind this legislation. However, I’m not happy about it!

Keeping in line with the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ mantra, I ALWAYS reuse my plastic shopping bags, especially as bin liners. They also ensure my household recycles more because you can’t fit too much rubbish in a plastic bag. I also use them for kids wet swimming gear, and always have one scrunched in my nappy bag for food scraps and other rubbish we use when we’re out and about.

Now, with this ban, I will have to buy garbage bags which will only be used once (to store garbage). I don’t have a problem with buying them, but I do have a problem that I’m only using them for one purpose.

Do you see the mistake in your logic?

Catty 4:12 pm 01 Jul 11

The Gruen Transfer once did a hilarious skit in their “selling the unsellable” section. It showed people trying to use alternatives for the humble plastic bag. Trying to pick up dog poo with a string bag was no mean feat and lining a bin with a paper bag was not very effective either.

poisonivy 4:09 pm 01 Jul 11

Calm down, people.

Shops will supply biodegradable bags. It’s not the end of the world.

And if you have a problem with food packaging, buy the stuff without it. It’s probably going to be better for you.

deye 3:01 pm 01 Jul 11

ActuAli said :

Now, with this ban, I will have to buy garbage bags which will only be used once (to store garbage). I don’t have a problem with buying them, but I do have a problem that I’m only using them for one purpose.

It only bans bags of a certain thickness. The shops will just use ones that are thicker than that. You’ll still have bin bags.

RichRick 2:22 pm 01 Jul 11

Every plastic bag gets reused at least once in our house. What I find a bigger clutter is the huge number of hard plastic containers we now get with pre-packed fruit and vegetables, and also meat trays. I reuse what I can – but am running out of uses for them. These would take up much more space in garbage dumps than the thin supermarket bags.

ActuAli 9:59 am 01 Jul 11

I can understand the reasoning behind this legislation. However, I’m not happy about it!

Keeping in line with the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ mantra, I ALWAYS reuse my plastic shopping bags, especially as bin liners. They also ensure my household recycles more because you can’t fit too much rubbish in a plastic bag. I also use them for kids wet swimming gear, and always have one scrunched in my nappy bag for food scraps and other rubbish we use when we’re out and about.

Now, with this ban, I will have to buy garbage bags which will only be used once (to store garbage). I don’t have a problem with buying them, but I do have a problem that I’m only using them for one purpose.

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