Australia has managed to curtail its plastic bag consumption quite successfully despite facing hurdles. Only three months after two of the biggest supermarket chains placed a ban on plastic grocery bags, about 1.5 billion bags have been stopped from coming into use as per the Australian Associated Press that cited the National Retail Association.
The ban on the plastic bag was introduced by Woolworths and Coles during last summer and have resulted in a drop of 80% in the country’s use of the single-use item as per the retail group. David Stout from National Retail Association, said, ‘Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent.’
There was some sort of ‘bag rage’ during the initial days because customers had to BYO-bag, or spend 15 Australian cents to purchase a reusable one. Woolworths executives even blamed the drop in sales on ‘customers adjusting’ to the plastic bag ban. Coles even took a step back for some time from the bag ban and was at the mercy of environmentally conscious shoppers when it started giving away reusable plastic bags.
But the good news? Most of the Australians did not find it that difficult to adjust to these changes, and that has proven amazing for the landfills, oceans, and the environment overall that was becoming a dumping ground for the plastic waste. Stout has commended the progress but is hopeful that the Australian government will back up a nationwide ban. New South Wales, most populous state of Australia, is the only state that has not legislated the phase out the single-use plastic bags.
According to Stout, ‘We’re still seeing a lot of small to medium bags being used, especially in the food category, and whilst I get some comfort that the majors have done this voluntarily I think there still needs to be a ban in place. For business, for the environment, for the consumer and of course even for councils which have to work to remove these things from landfills, there’s a multitude of benefits on the whole to doing this.’