Plan to kill off plastic bags for good
Single-use plastic bags and microbeads will be banned across Australia from 2021 under a Labor plan to cut waste.
The move, designed to protect vulnerable wildlife and reduce the amount of waste generated, is part of a planned $290 million spend by Labor aimed at making Australia cleaner for future generations.
"Plastic has a devastating impact on our natural environment - more than a third of the world's sea turtles were found to have plastic waste in their stomachs, and it is estimated around 90 per cent of seabirds eat plastic waste," a joint statement from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Labor senators Penny Wong and Kim Carr and environment spokesman Tony Burke said today.
If Labor wins government they will consult with states, territories and industry on how best to introduce the ban, which the party said would create consistency after many jurisdictions moved to phase out plastic bags.
Other planned initiatives include a national container deposit scheme, a $60 million national recycling fund, the appointment of a national waste commissioner, and $15 million to help neighbouring countries clean up the Pacific Ocean.
"Australians want action from government to help reduce waste and build a circular economy," the Opposition's statement said.
"So while many Australians do their duty - they recycle, compost, use keep cups for their morning coffee - we need the government to take a leading role to tackle some of the big, structural problems.
"For too long the federal government has left issues of recycling, plastics and waste to state governments and local governments.
"Plastics and waste are now becoming both a national and international problem."
Social media has been set ablaze by the proposed policy, with many supporting the idea of a nationwide ban.
Not everyone thought it was a good idea though, declaring it "not a smart move".
Some major Australian retailers banned plastic bags last year, initially causing an uproar with shoppers.
But within three months, the country's two leading supermarkets Coles and Woolworths, saw an 80 per cent drop in the consumption of plastic bags nationwide, according to the National Retail Association.
Plastic microbeads have already seen a drop in use as part of a voluntary move by companies to eliminate them.
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