Retailers keen to strengthen partnership with government to reduce plastic bag use

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th November 2008

Plastic Bag

Margy Osmond, CEO of the Australian National Retailers Association, has reported that retailers are keen to participate with government on new plastic bag initiatives following the successful trial of a levy in Victoria a couple of months ago.

“We welcome the opportunity to continue and grow our partnership with the Victorian and other state governments to develop a model to further reduce the use of plastic bags,” Mrs Osmond said in response to the Environment Ministers meeting in Adelaide on Friday. “Australian consumers are keen to ‘do the right thing’ from an environmental perspective and the recent trial to reduce bag use in Victoria made that clear.”

“Economic conditions are tough and we are keen to find a means to reduce bag use which does not hurt consumers who are watching every dollar,” Mrs Osmond added. “The major supermarkets have been working for many years to help customers change their behaviour and switch to reusable bags. The number of plastic bags issued each year has been cut by almost 2 billion since 2002.”

ANRA is confident that new strategies can be put in place to tackle the issue in a manner which appeals to a wide range of stakeholders.

“We congratulate the Victorian Environment Minister Gavin Jennings for working so constructively with the business community to find a workable outcome for both consumers and the environment,” Mrs Osmond said. “We very much look forward to working with the various state and Commonwealth governments over the coming months to develop a practical partnership model to substantially reduce bag use.”

Speaking about the meeting of Australian environment ministers on Friday, Mr Jennings noted that supermarkets and governments were ready to work together to tackle the issue. “Today Ministers recognised the potential to pursue a national approach which builds on the voluntary efforts of supermarkets to reduce plastic bag use,” he said. “It is clear that Governments around Australia and major supermarkets are ready to step up to address an issue that has been seen as an insurmountable challenge. This partnership builds on the success and lessons from Victoria’s trial.”