South Australia has become the first state in the country to ban lightweight plastic checkout bags and through doing so is expected to reduce the number of bags heading to landfill each year by around 400 million.
As of today, retailers failing to observe the ban by retailers risk an on the spot fine of AUD $315, or a maximum penalty of $5,000.
While some aren’t happy with the ban, claiming convenience, cost and even food hygiene issues; I’m very pleased to see it happen.
I’m one of those “spirit is willing, but flesh is weak” type folks at times and I’d hate to think how many times I’ve set out with full intentions of taking my reusable bags, then forgot – relying on the shop to supply the lightweight nasties.
As the ban loomed, I found myself getting better at remembering to take my bags.
It’s going to be odd in years from now looking back to a time when these disposable bags were an accepted part of life; much like remembering being a child visiting my father’s office when he worked in government department and a heavy pall of cigarette smoke hanging in the air. Such a thing would be unthinkable now; as will the thought of lightweight disposable plastic bags for the next generation I guess if other states take South Australia’s lead.
Good one South Australia!
Reusable bags do pose their own environmental challenges though – and what type should you buy? Learn more in my article, “Choosing a reusable bag“.