Victoria’s ban on single-use plastic bags has left NSW the last state to act, falling behind every other state in Australia and even the major supermarket chains who have already taken action to ban the bag.
Victorian minister for energy, environment and climate change Lily D’Ambrosio said she was proud Victoria was doing its part to reduce the impact plastic bags have on the environment.
“Banning single-use plastic bags will slash waste, reduce litter and protect marine life in Victoria’s pristine waters,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
However, banning lightweight plastic bags could lead to undesirable results, incentivising the use of heavier duty plastics, which will have an even greater impact on marine life.
The Andrews government has said it will work closely with businesses and the community to devise a plan to best manage plastic pollution while fairly treating consumers, retailers and the environment.
NSW left as the odd state out
Despite action from the rest of Australia, NSW remains behind on the journey to clearing plastic bag pollution.
In July NSW premier Gladys Bereijklian said there was no need to ban the bag because supermarkets like Coles, Woolworths and IGA had already done so, claiming this would lead to an 80 per cent reduction in plastic bag waste.
But Greenpeace senior media campaigner Simon Black said action by supermarkets alone would not solve the problem.
“Letting supermarkets lead the state on environmental issues would be weak even if it were effective, given that it will still not solve the problem,” Mr Black said.
“The premier’s inaction is disgraceful.”
Analysis by the Greenpeace Australian Pacific showed that 1.1 billion bags would continue to litter the NSW environment each year. These bags would not be covered by the voluntary action by supermarkets.
“That’s billions of bags that Bereijklian is letting end up in our waterways and landfill,” Mr Black said.