Plastic bag ban hailed a success by SA Government

Posted by Isobel Drake on 5th November 2009

Six months into South Australia’s ban on plastic bags, the state government has labelled it a remarkable success. An estimated 200 million checkout style bags have so far been stopped from entering our landfill and shoppers have been quick to embrace the changes for the sake of the environment, they advised.

Premier Mike Rann and Environment Minister Jay Weatherill yesterday released results of research that has tracked shoppers before and after the ban taking effect on May 4 this year.

“Remembering to bring your own shopping bags is now a normal part of South Australians’ daily lives – the change has generally gone without a hitch,” Mr Rann said. “Research shows more than nine in 10 shoppers take reusable bags to do their shopping, compared to about six in ten before the ban took effect.”

“Importantly, the vast majority of them believe the bag ban shows that SA is a leader on environmental issues.”

“I congratulate South Australia’s shoppers for embracing our bag ban. They’ve shown they are happy to change old habits for the sake of our environment.”

Legislation to ban checkout-style plastic shopping bags was passed in November 2008. Plastic bags started to be phased out from 1 January 2009 with the ban taking effect on 4 May this year.

Mr Weatherill said the task force, headed by Zero Waste SA with representatives from unions, retailers, local government and the community – which has worked with retailers since 2006, has ensured a successful introduction of the ban.

“Training for shop workers has also played a large role in the smooth transition to a plastic bag free environment,” he said.

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at UniSA spoke to shoppers before and after the ban taking effect and found that since the ban:
• more than nine in 10 shoppers are taking reusable bags to the supermarket.
• 82 per cent believe the ban is having an impact, especially on landfill and litter
• more than half give the ban a 10 out of 10, with the average support level 8.4 out of 10
• more than three quarters of shoppers believe the ban shows SA is a leader on environmental issues.