Backflips on bag bans
Major supermarkets backflipped on commitments to ban handing out plastic bags after customers refused to pay for plastic bags at the checkout1.
Some supermarkets made the thicker, reusable plastic bags available free to customers in the initial days of the legislation coming into place.
Now, customers can expect to pay 15c per bag.
As media attention in the lead up to the ban focused on concerns around using plastic, some customers were frustrated to see plastic bags still in store, not only with the thicker bags available at the checkout, but also in meat or fruit and vegetable sections of stores.
Concerns around thicker plastic bags
The thicker plastic bags still cause environmental concerns, as they’re produced from fossil fuels, don’t break down quickly, and are hazardous for wildlife and oceans2.
If customer behaviour remains the same, and people are continually buying these bags rather than reusing them, the result is just as bad for the environment.
Part of the environmental concern is around the bag breaking down into micro-plastics3.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, microplastics are the most prevalent type of marine debris found in oceans, and the Global Economic Forum estimates that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish4.