For many years now, plastic pollution has been a big, serious problem across the world. It’s a sad condition that has been badly affecting humans and marine life alike but fortunately, some are coming up with great solutions.
Australia, for example, just did the great job of decreasing plastic bag usage in the country by as much as 80% – and they did such an amazing feat in just 3 months! It may sound unbelievable but it’s true and the world just became a safer place to live because of their efforts.
How were they able to achieve it, you ask? Well according to the National Retail Association, it took a nationwide ban of free lightweight shopping bags by Coles and Woolworths – two of the country’s largest supermarket chains. Instead of plastic bags, they promoted the use of reusable bags.
David Stout, Manager of Industry Policy for the National Retail Association said in a statement:
“The decision by certain retailers to no longer offer free single use plastic carry bags certainly received a hostile response from some shoppers initially, but these retailers deserve credit for dramatically reducing the number of bags in circulation.
“The NRA has calculated that 1.5 billion bags have been saved since July 1 when Queensland banned the single use plastic carry bag.
“The bulk of shoppers now use their own bags, which has been instrumental in reducing the number of plastic bags being consumed. Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent.”
Stout likewise pointed out:
“Retailers deserve an enormous amount of kudos for leading the way on one of the most significant changes to consumer behaviour in generation and we also applaud shoppers for embracing this environmental initiative.
“The major supermarkets have also diverted the profits from the sales of alternative bags to the community sector, with groups such as Landcare, Clean Up Australia, Little Athletics Australia, SecondBite and Guide Dog being the beneficiaries.
“Nationwide retailers have led the way and as a result also assisted smaller businesses in providing a template on how manage the transition to a plastic bag-free retail environment. As a result, we are seeing similar changes made across the food, homeware and service categories.”
Kudos to Australia for showing the world that this is possible! We hope other countries follow your good example.
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