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Recycling excess plastic shopping bags?

By Chris Mordd Richards - 6 May 2016 34


With an election coming up (and the last article on this in 2014 on RA not yielding many decent suggestions) I thought this might be a good time to talk again about plastic bag recycling in the ACT.

A few years ago, we made the move to ban the old style non-decompostable plastic bags and rightly so, and we replaced them with a much better product that doesn’t last as long in the environment, and we coupled this with a 10-15c fee per bag (depending on where you go) so that people would think more about wether they needed it or not. All good so far.

However like many Canberrans, I still forget to take my bags a lot of the time for various reasons, and so over the past few years built up a nice collection of those 10-15c shopping bags in my kitchen.

Finally I decided I needed to do something about the growing pile, but to my dismay there seemed to be no easy way to recycle the bags. So $10 worth of clean, usable shopping bags went in the trash as I had no use for that many, and the local salvos store said they do not accept donations of bags anymore, they have more than enough (which one was of the few try-able suggestions from the 2014 RA article).

Can we not mandate that all supermarkets or large outlet stores (I’m thinking Coles, Woolies, IGA, Aldi, Kmart, Big W, Target, Bunnings, etc.) have compulsory bag collection points for recycling these excess plastic bags? Apparently recycling the modern ones we use now is a lot more doable than with the old ones, so what we seem to be simply lacking is a proper collection scheme so that Canberrans can easily recycle the ones they don’t need.

Can we make this happen in 2016 and finally rest easy that we aren’t still sending plastic bags to landfill for no good reason?

What’s Your opinion?

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