A GROUNDSWELL of rage against single-use plastic bags in the Nambucca Valley and other communities has finally been heard – with Woolworths and now Coles agreeing to phase out their use.
The other ‘big major’ food retailer, ALDI, led the way in shunning free plastic bags at checkouts, and now the Big 2 have followed suit and bowed to growing public pressure for change.
The damage of plastic in the environment had led to a number of groups known as Boomerang Bags, setting up across the Mid North Coast, including the Nambucca Valley.
The birth of a movement:
Not surprisingly, NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson Justin Field welcomed today’s bombshell announcement by Woolworths and Coles of a phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months as a clear demonstration of growing momentum for a full ban on plastic bags in the State.
Australians use up to an estimated four billion light-weight plastic bags a year. South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT have already ‘banned the bag’, with Queensland joining them from July 2018.
“The two major Australian supermarkets committing to end single-use plastic bags in their stores is game changer, now it is time for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to act,” Mr Field said.
“Today’s announcements by Woolworths and Coles, community campaigns such as Boomerang Bags and the thousands of individuals taking part in Plastic Free July show an unstoppable momentum to ban the bag in NSW.
“The NSW Government is lagging behind other states and territories in taking action on plastic pollution and banning single-use plastic bags.
“People are shocked to learn an estimated 50 million plastic bags end up as litter in the environment each year in Australia, mostly in our waterways and ocean, where they kill and injure dolphins, turtles and other marine life.
“The Premier and her government continue to ignore the rising tide of plastic is choking our oceans and marine life, polluting our rivers and impacting our health and that of future generations. There is one way to fix it - it's time to put an end to single use plastics.
“We can do more to clean up our precious natural environment and stop plastic pollution.
“Supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles should not profit from convenience by selling any form of plastic bags, and fruit and vegetable should be freed from plastic wrap. The goal has to be to reduce plastic consumption across the board.
“A plastic free NSW would also include a phase out of all single-use plastics, a ban on microbeads and a fully-funded plastic pollution strategy” he said.