At the moment, New Yorkers use 5.2 billion carryout bags per year, and the city spends about US $10 million annually to transport 100,000 tons of plastic bags to landfills in other states. The bill’s architects are hoping the legislation will mirror results seen in Washington and LA, noting that those places saw their plastic bag usage decline by 60% and 95% respectively.
In Australia, South Australia, ACT and Northern Territory have all banned single-use plastic checkout bags, and Tasmania has recently joined these progressive states in banning single use lightweight plastic bags. Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales are yet to implement any bans.
South Australia, the first state to enforce the ban, have implemented a fee at the checkout for even bioplastic bags, shoppers pay anywhere from AUD 15 cents to $2 to buy bioplastic bags. This has resulted in 9 out of 10 shoppers using their own bags – a spectacular result for behavioral change.
BioPak’s bioplastic bags, pictured, are made from Ecopond, a GMO free starch-based bioplastic certified compostable to Australian Standards AS4736.
Remember when public pressure forced major fast food chains to abandon Styrofoam boxes in exchange for the paper wrap and paperboard boxes used today? We are today seeing world-wide pressure to stop the scourge of plastic bags.
Some Australian retailers are already setting excellent examples – Target started using bioplastic bags in 2009. The sales of their reusable bag has also raised more than AUD $1 million for the Alannah and Madeline charity, keeping children safe from violence.
Despite much good news and progress in this area, research by DoSomething! charity organisation shows that Australians have used at least 50 billion plastic checkout bags since 2002 – the year their directors Jon Dee and Ron Clarke launched the national campaign to ban plastic bags.