In early October 2017 the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced plans for Victoria to ban single-use plastic bags. A ban has already been implemented in South Australia, ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania with Queensland set to follow. Single-use bags are thin, light-weight bags often used by supermarkets and convenience stores. Clothing and goods retailers generally use paper bags or thick plastic bags, which are considered multiple-use.
The start date of this ban will be announced early 2018 and small steps towards this ban are to begin from January 2018. The Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the 'Government would work with businesses and the community to design the ban'. Independent retailers have shown support as it could save businesses money on their purchasing of single-use bags but retailers want to ensure customers are aware of the change.
This ban is another step towards the War on Waste here in Australia. Plastic bags are a killer of marine wildlife who consume the plastic or become entangled in them as well as being a pollutant through manufacturing and their disposal. The ban will not necessarily solve this problem entirely, as there could simply be an increase in use of heavier plastic bags (multiple-use) that use far more resources and are an even bigger pollutant and harm to marine animals.
The hope with this ban is that consumers and retailers will be more aware of their impacts on the environment and how simple it can be for everyone to do their part in reducing waste, even if that is just simply remembering to bring a reusable bag to the shops.