The Greens have announced they will introduce legislation in the new parliament to ban single-use plastic bags in New South Wales, which is lagging other states that have already adopted this measure to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic.
Jamie Parker MP, Greens Member for Balmain, said the Greens intend to introduce legislation for NSW to finally put a stop to this environmental catastrophe.
“Previous Labor governments have toyed with plastic bag bans or levies but never followed through, and the Liberals have done nothing to prevent plastic bag pollution,” said Mr Parker.
“South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and ACT have successfully banned lightweight plastic bags. There is no excuse for NSW to allow them, and we call on the Labor and Liberal parties to support this ban.
“The community was horrified at the death of a rare Risso’s Dolphin last year at Manly that had ingested a plastic grocery bag.
“An estimated 50 million plastic bags end up in the environment each year in Australia, mostly in our waterways and ocean, where they kill and injure dolphins, turtles and other marine life,” said Mr Parker.
The Greens’ legislation will introduce a plastic bag ban by the end of 2015 and be similar to other states’ laws, which ban lightweight shopping bags being given out or sold by retailers to customers to carry away goods. The ban will focus on plastic bags of less than 35 microns, which includes single-use, lightweight bags such as grocery bags with handles, and other bags used to carry away products such as take away food, or alcohol.
Jenny Leong, the Greens candidate for the new seat of Newtown, said a plastic bag ban would help to reduce overall plastic consumption and the reliance on fossil fuels, and prevent the death of thousands of marine animals.
“When South Australia stopped the use of plastic shopping bags in 2009, it showed that people very quickly changed their behaviours and brought their own bags to the supermarket,” said Ms Leong.
"When I return to Adelaide to visit my family I see first hand how easily people adapt to a plastic-free shopping experience.
“There are alternatives to plastic bags, so it is time to get on with a ban. This will be the first order of business for Greens elected to the Lower House the next parliament.
“Already some national retailers have shown they can operate effectively without plastic bags, there is no reason similar practices cannot be adopted by supermarkets and shops throughout NSW. There are plenty of alternatives available for businesses and consumers,” said Ms Leong.