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Simon says we all love the plastic bag ban

johnboy 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
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neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 2:14 pm 24 Jan 13

Madam Cholet said :

I don’t understand all these people who say they have bags piling up. I have my own shopping bags, and even keep one in my work bag in case I need to go out and make purchases. So I don’t need to buy any. Obviously in Canberra the 15c is not that much of a deterrent. I also use my hands on occasion to carry things to the car and put them in the boot where there are bags awaiting. I buy bio-degradeable bin liners.

It is often the case that I go in to buy a bottle of milk (and not take a bag) and leave with 17 other items, hence the need for a 15c environmentally unsound lump of processed oil. I don’t have a handbag in which to store my rain-forest certified organic free trade hemp bag, so I happily pay my 15c laziness/forgetfulness toll and head home to put the new bag in with his friends.

DrKoresh DrKoresh 2:12 pm 24 Jan 13

Biodegradable bags are, contrary to popular opinion and possibly common-sense, worse for the environment than non-degradable ones are. It stems from the fact that a biodegradable bag quickly degrade, often before it gets to landfill. When this happens, it releases carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A run of the mill plastic bag will not degrade for a long time, but once it’s in a landfill it’s not likely to be going anywhere else. There are techniques (whether or not we use them here, i don’t know) whereby the gases produced in a decomposing landfill can be harnessed and used to supply energy.

Sorry, it’s just frustrating to hear so many, presumably well-meaning people, bemoan the danger and wastage of non-degradable bags; in fact the opposite is true.

zippyzippy zippyzippy 2:06 pm 24 Jan 13

Chop71 said

“…and now we have heavy petrochemical bags.
it may not be f***ing rocket science, but are we better off?”

Yes.
http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/resources/documents/lca_shopping_bags_full_report%5B2%5D.pdf

davo101 davo101 1:41 pm 24 Jan 13

PantsMan said :

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.

That just means it cost less than $25 000.

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 1:39 pm 24 Jan 13

I don’t understand all these people who say they have bags piling up. I have my own shopping bags, and even keep one in my work bag in case I need to go out and make purchases. So I don’t need to buy any. Obviously in Canberra the 15c is not that much of a deterrent. I also use my hands on occasion to carry things to the car and put them in the boot where there are bags awaiting. I buy bio-degradeable bin liners.

When are people going to start owning the problems that we as humans have created. It’s not about the nasty government wanting to take things away from us, it’s just about trying to be more responsible with gentle nudges to change our collective behaviour.

I also choose to delay running my air con as long as I can to ensure that I don’t have higher than necessary electric bills, and that I’m not sucking electric that I really don’t need. Regulating your own behaviour is allowed. We don’t need the government to do it for us all of the time. Because you all moan when they do.

Chop71 Chop71 1:27 pm 24 Jan 13

Postalgeek said :

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.

…and now we have heavy petrochemical bags.
it may not be f***ing rocket science, but are we better off?

davo101 davo101 1:26 pm 24 Jan 13

chewy14 said :

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

So 69% don’t want non-biodegradable bags banned while at the same time 94% want bags to be biodegradable. We have to assume that a fairly large proportion of the survey participants think that retailers are going to change to biodegradable as a community service.

Thumper Thumper 1:23 pm 24 Jan 13

PantsMan said :

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?

Relax, you can trust their figures, just like the err, hospital….

IrishPete IrishPete 1:19 pm 24 Jan 13

Haven’t bothered looking at the full survey report, but interesting that the media release refers to “primary shoppers”. Presumably that’s the organised member of the household who goes to the supermarket with a list, not the casual shopper who buys some bread and milk on the way home from work.

But I’m all in favour of the ban, and in time we’ll get used to it and carry a bag with us. Or shops will start giving us free promotional paper bags, like they do in Ireland.

The ban would have had numerous aims, and plastic bags in landfill would only have been one. Plastic bags blowing around streets, in waterways etc. would have been the main one.

Now that you have to buy your binliners, that is a price-sensitive transaction – you won’t waste them, and you may even start to look for biodegradable ones. Many of my free bags (which I still get in NSW) have holes in them by the time they get home and are no use for lining bins.

The shops could possibly have headed the ban off at the pass if they’d switched to biodegradable bags ages ago.

I live in NSW and can’t wait for the ban to infect us here.

Next stop, a container deposit scheme. How about it Shane and Simon? Does it really matter if Queanbeyan and Yass residents abuse it by taking their bottles and cans into the ACT to get money back that they didn’t pay in the first place? Let the manufacturers sort that problem out themselves – they created it

IP

chewy14 chewy14 1:17 pm 24 Jan 13

Jivrashia said :

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

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

That’s not how I read it.
I think it’s more a case of, “If we have a ban, then so should everyone else”.

switch switch 1:09 pm 24 Jan 13

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!

Jivrashia Jivrashia 12:54 pm 24 Jan 13

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

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

chewy14 chewy14 12:54 pm 24 Jan 13

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.

BimboGeek BimboGeek 12:42 pm 24 Jan 13

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.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 12:30 pm 24 Jan 13

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.

PantsMan PantsMan 12:27 pm 24 Jan 13

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?

astrojax astrojax 12:26 pm 24 Jan 13

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

Thumper Thumper 12:15 pm 24 Jan 13

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.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 11:56 am 24 Jan 13

“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.

dtc dtc 11:50 am 24 Jan 13

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.

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