Victoria takes national approach to plastic bagsStaff writer ▼ | March 2, 2016
Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Anthony Carbines attended a national roundtable between state governments and stakeholders to look at options to further reduce the impact of plastic bags.
Australia Plastic bags are a significant risk to the environment
The meeting is an outcome of the last meeting of Environment Ministers in December 2015 and will review the experiences of jurisdictions who have already implemented plastic shopping bag bans. Representing Minister for the Environment Lisa Neville at the event, Carbines said the problem needed a coordinated approach.
Carbines said the roundtable provided an opportunity to learn from the experience of other jurisdictions, such as South Australia, which has already implemented bans on plastic shopping bags.
Other options being considered include placing a levy on plastic bags, creating an education campaign highlighting the danger plastic bags present to the environment and mandatory labelling to inform consumers about their environmental impact. Approximately 7-8 billion plastic bags are consumed nationally each year.
These contribute to litter, consume large amounts of raw materials to manufacture and contaminate recycling streams.
Plastic bags also pose a significant risk to the environment, particularly marine life, with a recent Federal Senate inquiry hearing there are billions of pieces of visible plastic in Australian waters.
South Australia, the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania have already banned lightweight plastic bags. ■