Bag-free Tasmania?



Plastic bag

Credit: iStockphoto

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Non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags would be banned across Tasmania should the Liberals come to power there, the Opposition have pledged.

"In 2003, Tasmania led the way as Coles Bay moved to become Australia's first plastic shopping bag free town and since then, the initiative has been adopted around Australia and globally," said Will Hodgman, Tasmanian Liberals leader.

He said that if elected, his government would move to ban non-biodegradable bags across the state within two years.

"This is a practical, achievable and responsible policy that will help the environment and strengthen Tasmania's positive environmental image," he said. "Tasmania's major supermarkets are already encouraging customers to use biodegradable bags, by providing them at nominal cost [and] a number of major retailers [here and interstate] have taken a lead on this issue."

"Just as Coles Bay residents and retailers have embraced their plastic shopping bag free status, we believe the rest of Tasmania will too."

Plastic shopping bags are a significant source of litter and contamination both on land and in our waterways. In land fill, common plastic shopping bags can take up to 100 years or more to breakdown and bags that aren't buried can become a major hazard for our marine environment.

A recent study commissioned by the Victorian Government showed that over the period of one year, an average household can save six kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, over 190 megajoules of energy (enough to power a television for six months) and seven litres of water simply by replacing single use plastic shopping bags with reusable bags.

"Following the lead of Coles Bay, South Australia has already moved to become Australia's first "plastic shopping bag free state" and in the first six months of the ban, they estimate that 200 million checkout style bags have been stopped from entering land fill," said Sue Napier, Tasmania's Shadow Minister for the Environment.

"By banning non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags from Tasmania, every household can make a positive difference to our environment."