The news is out, the ban on plastic bags has changed the lives of Australians for good - as long as you choose reusable bags instead.
The National Retailers Association revealed that the first six months of the ban had resulted in 1.5 billion fewer plastic bags distributed. This great result is overshadowed a little, as when shoppers choose a 15c bag purchased at the shop, it’s less eco-friendly.
Why question 15c bags?
What’s the problem? The main issue is that the bags being purchased are ‘heavy duty’.
"Put simply, these bags are made of more plastic so they will take much longer to break down in the environment," says Professor Stephen Swearer, Director of the National Centre for Coasts and Climate. "More plastic also means that as these bags break up, they will produce more micro-plastics."
Although the bags are designed to be used multiple times, making them more eco-friendly relative to single-use bags, shoppers don’t always reuse them. Clean Up Australia CEO Terrie-Ann Johnson told ABC News she worries they often end up as bin bags, going straight into landfill.
Turning the ban into a win
Sustainability Victoria estimated 4 billion single-use plastic bags were once distributed per year in Australia, with 150 million ending up in the sea. There’s no doubt the bag ban is good, but without a decrease in plastic bag purchases, it won’t have the impact it could have.
What are the alternatives for life after the plastic bag ban? It’s simple really. Bring your own reusable bags, such as Trolley Bags or other eco-friendly options. Experts suggest that a bag that can be used in the long term is friendliest for the environment.
More good news is on the way. As more plastic bag bans come into play - with more and more stores getting rid of them outright - the number of bags kept from landfill is set to go even further up. In the meantime, eco-aware shoppers need to be conscious about their shopping habits, and get used to slipping a Trolley Bag into the car whenever they plan a shop.
To pick up a set of Trolley Bags, head to www.packingsorted.com.au. If you are a retailer, click here to enquire about stocking Trolley Bags in your store.