After a few big players entered the ring, the environment was spared some 1.5 billion plastic shopping bags in under 100 days.
This is remarkable, and a model for other countries around the world. After two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains decided to nix single-use plastic shopping bags, the country saw an 80 percent drop in plastic bag consumption across the nation in the first three months of the ban, reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
According to The Guardian, Woolworths began prohibiting all single-use plastic bags from all stores nationwide on June 20th; their competitor, Coles, did the same on June 30th. It has been estimated that each chain was responsible for around 3.2 billion bags every year.
The impacts of plastic bags on the environment can be devastating and you can read about that on our previous article: Ocean plastics
AAP says that the two supermarket giants stopped offering single-use plastic bags after years of campaigning by environmental groups and consumers. The press agency notes that while not all shoppers were on board, many other shoppers were in strong support of the initiative.
According to the National Retail Association (NRA), after just three months there was an 80 percent drop in the consumption of plastic bags across the country.
Given the success seen in Australia, may the rest of us follow their example.
If you are interested to learn more on plastic pollution in our oceans you can watch the documentary “A plastic Ocean”:
Or read the book “Plastic soup”: