Review shows Canberrans “support plastic bag ban”

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 24th January 2013

The government of the Australian Capital Territory has released the results of a recent survey it commissioned about its retail ban on lightweight plastic bags.

According to the government, the survey revealed that most Canberrans want to see the ban of lightweight plastic bags continue. The retail ban on lightweight plastic bags was implemented by the ACT government in November 2011.

The government’s survey was conducted by telephone and carried out on 600 primary shoppers in ACT households. It was part of the 12 month Government interim review of the ban, and the government has said that the majority of shoppers from every age group supported the ban.

The survey showed that 70% of Canberrans want to see the ban of lightweight plastic bags continue while 66% of people would like the ban to be implemented nationally, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell said today. Mr Corbell is also the Attorney General in the ALP-led administration of the ACT.

“The interim review of the ban shows that 84% of Canberrans now carry a re-usable bag with them when doing their shopping instead of relying on bags at the counter,” Mr Corbell said.

The review evaluated community acceptance, reduction in plastic bag use, environmental outcomes and retailer compliance. Mr Corbell said the majority of shoppers have changed their behaviour, using reusable bags more frequently.

Mr Corbell said a more broad-ranging review would take place after two years of the operation of the lightweight plastic bag ban, as it is “too soon to say if the ban has impacted on the number of plastic bags going to landfill”.

“This interim review gives us an important snapshot of the views in the ACT community about the ban, but after another 12 months we will be able to look more closely at trends of plastic bag use, and reductions of bags to landfill,” he said.

There was no mention in the Minister’s statement of any co-relationship of the ban with sales of garbage bags and liners.

Canberra is not the first Australian jurisdiction to have banned plastic shopping bags in supermarkets. The Tasmanian town of Coles Bay was the first town to implement a ban of plastic bags in 2003, with similar steps following South Australia in 2008 and the Northern Territory in 2010.