Single-use plastic bags will be banned in all Victorian supermarkets and shops from November, but a study suggests the ban could unintentionally contribute to the state’s deepening waste crisis.
The new legislation, introduced in the Victorian Parliament on Wednesday, will stop cashiers at supermarkets, clothing shops, takeaway restaurants and petrol stations from giving out the bags at the checkout. Victorians use more than one billion plastic shopping bags every year, with the majority ending up in landfill and about 10 million littered on streets and beaches, polluting the environment and endangering wildlife.
The proposed law, which needs to pass both houses of Parliament, would make it illegal for retailers to give customers plastic, single-use carry bags, including those made from degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics.
Before dog owners panic, there are some exceptions: Animal waste bags will still be allowed. Plastic bin liners and slip bags for fresh produce would also still be legal.
For decades, South Australia has quietly been leading the way toward a plastic-free Australia banning single-use plastic bags at the checkout in 2009 and introducing the nation’s first container deposit scheme in the 1970s.