Plastic bag levy trial hailed a success

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 7th October 2008

Plastic Bag

Shoppers in Warrnambool, Wangaratta and the Fountain Gate area have dramatically cut plastic bag use during the plastic bag levy trial, according to the Victorian Government.

From 18 August to 14 September a ten cent government and industry charge was placed on plastic checkout bags from Coles, Woolworths (Safeway) and IGA stores in the three trial areas of Warrnambool, Wangaratta and Fountain Gate.

Victorian Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings and CEO of the Australian National Retailers Association Margy Osmond said customers in these areas managed to reduce their plastic bag use by 79 per cent.

“I’d like to thank all of the shoppers from trial locations for their involvement,” Mr Jennings said. “Initial trial results showed a 79 per cent reduction in plastic bag use across the trial areas, which is a pleasing result.”

ANRA CEO Margy Osmond noted that all the money raised during the trial will go to local environmental projects. “Conservation Volunteers Australia has been selected to manage the funds and ensure investment in environmental projects directly benefit the participating communities,” Mrs Osmond advised.

The final report will be provided to Government in October, along with advice from the trial Steering Committee chaired by Caroline Bayliss, Director of Global Sustainability at RMIT University.

“Analysis is continuing on the impact of the trial on customers and supermarket staff, including occupational health and safety issues. All this data will be included in the final report,” Mr Jennings said. “We will analyse all the outcomes of the trial. The Government will continue to work with industry toward a national approach based on the outcomes of the trial.”

The trial outcomes will be discussed at the next meeting of State and Territory Environment Ministers and made available to the public in November.