Plastic Bag ConsultationWe need to tell the government to ban plastic bags
From now until 25 January 2018 the government is taking submissions on reducing plastic pollution. In order to make our goal of a ban on plastic bags a reality we need our supporters to make as many submissions as possible.
To make a submission you need to visit the government consultation website here.
Use the answers below to guide your response but your submission will be most effective if it’s as personalised and localised as possible.
If you would like more detailed information you can check out our plastics fact sheet.
1. Do you support a ban on single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags?
- Answer “Yes”.
- Plastic has remained the most common category of rubbish picked up on Clean Up Australia day over the last 20 years. In 2009, it made up 29% of all rubbish found. Source: Clean Up Australia Day
- Australians consume almost 3 million tonnes of plastic each year. Only approximately 9% is recycled and 130,000 tonnes end up in the ocean. Source: Boomerang Alliance
- We ingest tiny bits of plastic whenever we eat seafood.
- Plastic in the ocean is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of turtles, penguins and dolphins each year.
2. Should a ban include thick plastic shopping bags?
- Answer “Yes”.
- Banning all plastic bags delivers the strongest economic benefit as per a report provided by the Victorian Government (p. 9).
- There is little evidence that thicker plastic bags are re-used any more than single-use plastic bags.
- Examples from other states and territories indicate that by allowing thicker shopping bags retailers and consumers continue to use plastic bags at similar rate, even with a 15 cent levy.
- Thicker plastic bags are just as harmful to marine life.
3. Should a ban include plastic bags that break down over time such biodegradable, degradable or compostable bags?
- Answer “Yes”.
- All plastics that degrade first break down into smaller pieces, still posing a danger to marine life.
- Biodegradable plastics (like cornstarch) take the longest to break down, sometimes years.
- Oxydegradable plastics almost always release harmful chemicals into the sea. Source: UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Loughborough University.
4. If lightweight plastic bags are banned, we will need to consider exemptions for some purposes, like medical or security activities. Are there any types of businesses, organisations or activities that you think should be exempt from a plastic bag ban?
- Emphasise that exemptions should only be allowed where it is absolutely necessary.
- It seems reasonable that exemptions be made for healthcare, policing and security applications.
5. If lightweight plastic shopping bags were banned, what alternative bags would you prefer to use? (select up to 2 options)
- The government has provided an explanation of different types of bags here.
- Thick plastic shopping bags are NOT a viable solution.
- Green bags are significantly better than thick plastic bags as they are far more likely to be reused, however they are still made of plastic.
- Cotton bags that are reused hundreds of times are an appropriate solution to our plastic pollution crisis.
6. What other options should the government consider to reduce plastic packaging in Victoria?
- Greater education around the harm caused by plastic waste – this may encourage consumers to avoid plastic packaging which will encourage businesses to reduce their plastic packaging.
7. What else should the Victorian Government do to reduce the impacts of litter at a local level and across the state?
- Introduce a Container Deposit Scheme. A Container Deposit Scheme gives consumers a 10c refund when they deposit drink containers at authorised sites. With Queensland introducing one in July next year, it is now the case that Container Deposit Schemes exist in all states except for Victoria and Tasmania.
8. How can Victorians be encouraged to further reduce the impacts of litter in their communities?
- An education campaign about the global crisis of plastic pollution.
- A Container Deposit Scheme incentivising the public to reduce plastic waste.
- Use examples relevant to your local area. What rubbish do you see at your local parks, waterways or beaches? How could this be prevented by government action?
9. What other plastic pollution issues should government, business and communities work together to address?
- Provide local and/or personal examples of plastic waste in your community.
10. What strategies to address plastic pollution do you think would be most effective?
- In-school education about plastic waste and its impact on Port Philip Bay and how to recycle.
- A Container Deposit Scheme to financially incentivise recycling. This has successfully worked in over 20 other countries and in other states of Australia.
- Banning microbeads.
- Banning excessive plastic packaging in supermarkets.