Queensland says goodbye to plastic bags

MEG BOLTON

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Plastic bags to be banned across four states in fight against pollution. Photo: Zainub Razvi

The Queensland Government has announced a state-wide ban on plastic bags, to take effect next year.

From July 1, 2018, the Sunshine State will say goodbye to complementary bags at the checkout, forcing Queenslanders to either pay up or to bring their own.

Toby Hutcheon, of environmental lobby group Boomerang Alliance, said the initiative is Queensland’s most significant litter reduction measure in a generation.

“Plastic bags are probably the most dangerous litter item for wildlife,” Mr Hutcheon said.

“It’s going to make a significant difference to our environment and also reduce the threat to wildlife particularly.”

The bill received unanimous support in parliament and will see Queensland join South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales in their fight against pollution.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Steven Miles, said Queensland has an advantage in seeing how it has worked in other states.

“We will have the opportunity to see not just how this has rolled out in the Northern Territory but New South Wales will commence their scheme ahead of us,” Mr Miles said.

“We are aligning the public facing components so either side of the border you won’t be able to see the difference between our scheme and the NSW scheme.”

The government hope the environmental initiative will have the same effect it has had in other locations of Australia and the world.

Toby Hutcheon said banning the use of complimentary bags has seen a drastic effect in other parts of the world.

“In The UK for instance they’ve got a 5p levy on a bag and that has resulted in a 80% decrease in the use of bags,” Mr Hutcheon said.

“Both Plastic bag bans and container refund schemes work. They’ve showed around the world to reduce the amount of litter and change people’s habits.”

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