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Retail Plastic Shopping Bags: Is There a Will to Kill Them Off?

Australia is tackling plastic waste through a new National Plastics Plan. In a government-sponsored survey for 2018-2019, the compilers decided to see how Australia has been doing with those one-use plastic retail supermarket bags that end up in landfills and trash heaps across the planet. Take a look at their findings:

  1. Australian manufacturing of single-use HDPE retail carry bags basically ended in 2017. Almost all bags are now imported.

  2. Until mid-2018 the most commonly used single-use plastic bags were made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic (the standard supermarket single-use bag).

  3. Over a two-year period from 2016–17 to 2018–19, plastic retail carry bag use decreased in Australia 32% by weight and 54% by number.

  4. Single-use HDPE plastic bag consumption has fallen by 77% since 2016–17, driven by instituted bans that began on July 1, 2018.

  5. The 77% reduction was further assisted by major retailers, Woolworths and Coles, phasing out single-use bags in July 2018.

  6. Single-use bag consumption in 2002 numbered 5.95 billion units, weighing 32,700 tons.

  7. By 2018-2019, those use-numbers had dropped to 1.30 billion units, weighing 7000 tons.


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