Plastic shopping bags ban successful

Released 05/06/2014

The ACT's plastic shopping bags ban has resulted in a 36% decrease in the amount of plastic bags sent to landfill and is now supported by 65% of Canberra grocery shoppers, a review into the ban has found.

Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, tabled a review of the first two years of the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban Act 2010 in the Legislative Assembly today.

"A review of the ban has justified the ACT government's 2011 legislation banning the supply of single-use shopping bags made of polyethylene of 35 microns or less thickness," Mr Corbell said.

A survey by Piazza Research in March 2014 of 602 people who were all the main grocery shopper in their household found 65% supported the ban, an increase of 7% over a similar survey held in September 2012, while those against the ban fell to 26% from 33%.

"Those supporting the ban said they did so for environmental reasons and agreed the ban has had a positive effect on the environment," Mr Corbell said.

"Furthermore, 71% said they did not want the ban overturned and 68% said the ban should be implemented nationally."

An analysis of shopping bag use by Canberra shoppers during six months from May to October 2013 has also shown significant benefits to the environment.

"Using information from major retailers in the territory, we estimated 171 tonnes of plastic bags were sent to landfill, a 36% decrease on the 266 tonnes sent to landfill in the six months prior to the ban.

 "Another interesting finding is that while there was an initial increase in sales of bin liners immediately after the ban, sales have now fallen to pre-ban levels, which indicates people are reusing the thicker plastic bags for rubbish or other alternatives.

"The ACT is one of four states and territories to introduce a plastic shopping bag ban and is a prime example of how legislation can drive change and promote behavioural change by the community that improves the environment and reduces waste."

The review is available at www.environment.act.gov.au

- Statement ends -

Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases

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