We all know that plastic bags are harmful to our environment. In Australia alone, we use over 4 billion single-use plastic bags each year**.
At least 50 – 80 million plastic bags end up as litter on Australia’s beaches, streets and parks each year.*
Local and State Governments around Australia, businesses and community groups spend more than $4 million per year cleaning up littered plastic shopping bags.**
The community considers plastic bags to be a FREE cost to households, where in fact the cost to households is around $10 - $15 per year added to the price of goods that are purchased.
A person’s use of a plastic bag lasts for the time it takes to get groceries from the shops to home. When you consider plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to breakdown in the environment, there has to be a better option.
It’s time to start saying no to using plastic bags. Together we can:
- Stop plastic bags becoming windblown litter which end up looking unsightly in our parks, beaches and waterways.
- Help stop many seabirds, turtles, dolphins and even whales from ingesting plastic bags which they can choke on or starve by confusing plastic bags for jellyfish.
- Save our non-renewable resources - plastic bags are made from oil and gas. Once they are depleted, they cannot be replaced.
The good news is there are alternatives to plastic bags.
Alternatives For Residents
Helpful tips for life beyond plastic bags –
- What to use to line your bin – try old newspapers, finished cereal bags, bread bags or pasta/rice bags.
- Set up a compost bin, bokashi or worm farm – the ultimate solution to removing food waste from your bin and creating healthy soil for your garden.
- How to carry groceries home - purchase some reusable bags which are available at most supermarket outlets and remember to bring these back each time. Another option is to bring a couple of washing baskets which stack neatly in each other for ease of carrying to the supermarket.
- Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags - after unpacking groceries, put your reusable bags back into your car so they are available for next time.
*Environment Australia – Plastic shopping bags – Analysis of levies and environmental impacts – Nolan 2002. www.deh.gov.au/industry/waste/plasticbags/bags-analysis.html
**Planet Ark http://plasticbags.planetark.org/