Each Australian state or territory has either passed, or are in the process of passing, legislation that eradicates single-use plastic bags across the entire retail grid, with the exception of New South Wales (NSW).
Should NSW emulate the steps taken in other states, it will bring all retailers throughout Australia under a single, streamlined approach to plastic bag usage.
In recent times, several high-profile retailers have implemented measures to eliminate the distribution of such bags. Both the NRA and the Boomerang Alliance have welcomed previous actions by individual retailers that favour environmentally friendly re-useable bags.
Asides from the obvious environmental benefits, these bans have been instrumental in ensuring that parts of the retail sector don’t shirk their responsibility and leave the heavy-lifting to only a select few. It is concerning that there will be hundreds of millions of bags still in circulation in NSW from many more outlets, resulting in significant litter.
In the absence of such legislation in NSW, we still have an enormous number of plastic bags polluting the environment, littering the landscape and harming marine wildlife. Other states have successfully implemented laws that address this issue, while at the same time imposing minimal inconvenience on retailers and consumers alike.
The NRA believes NSW can also contribute to the nationwide expansion to ban the plastic bag. The detrimental impact that plastic bags have on the environment directly affects the reputation of the entire retail industry (which is currently investing millions of dollars in education and new store practises), including those who have taken proactive steps to clean up the environment.
Consequently, we – the major retailers and the Boomerang Alliance – have joined together to call on the NSW government to pass legislation banning lightweight plastic bags being provided at the checkout.
If you would like to provide your feedback on this topic, please get in touch with the NRA’s Policy Manager: David Stout, [email protected].
For more information on the WA bag ban, please call 1800 817 723 or email [email protected].