Smart Living

How Australia Reduced Use Of Plastic Bags By 80% In Just 6 Months

Plastic waste is probably the most problematic waste product on the planet. It has horrible results on the world and the setting. All plastics are comprised of pure resources that aren’t renewable or sustainable – together with coal, crude oil, and gasoline.

Nine single-use plastic luggage, like those offered at a typical grocery retailer, comprise sufficient petroleum energy to drive a automotive one kilometer. This sort of energy is named embodied energy. Non-recycled plastic which will get thrown out after only one use wastes the embodied energy it incorporates.

This depletes resources and likewise causes a number of waste materials to flood the planet. That’s why Australians have labored so laborious to cut back its utilisation of plastic luggage. Their efforts to date have been extremely profitable. In solely half a year, their consumption of plastic luggage has decreased considerably!

But how. And simply as importantly, can different international locations replicate this success?

How Australia Reduced Use Of Plastic Bags By 80% In Just 6 Months

The Australian Plastic Bag Ban

In 2018, two of the biggest grocery store chains in Australia determined to impose a single-use plastic bag ban on all their institutions. This led to a formidable 80% drop in total plastic bag use in the complete nation, says the National Retail Association.

Woolworths Supermarket was the primary to make this resolution in June 2018. This led to a stunning 1.5 billion plastic luggage saved from a destiny in landfills from that single grocery store.

Shortly after, in July 2018, Coles adopted swimsuit and determined to make a everlasting swap to fabric luggage. Their new coverage was carried out on the identical day that Queensland’s plastic bag ban went into impact.

Countless folks across the nation are giving these firms reward for his or her efforts to maneuver in direction of a greener, extra sustainable business mannequin. Today, a stroll right into a grocery retailer in Australia reveals that almost all consumers carry their very own buying luggage with them, all all through the nation – an enormous step ahead in lowering plastic bag utilisation.

In addition, retailers with that a lot affect within the nation are certain to pave the way in which for different, smaller companies to comply with swimsuit, making it fascinating to provide reusable options. It prevents buyer alienation and can enable many companies to implement greener options with out the fear of coping with the backlash.

A subsequent step can be for these supermarkets to work on their different sources of single-use plastic utilization, equivalent to in wrapping produce.

The Threat of Plastic

The world’s oceans have been struggling for many years. Compared to the Fifties, round half of all coral reefs have been lost to quite a lot of points. We now solely retain a miserable quantity of enormous fish, having lost 90% of these we as soon as had.

Don’t throw away plastic straws, reuse them…

While the ocean is affected by rising temperatures, local weather change, and overfishing, the ocean’s largest enemy is plastic. Eighty % of litter crowding the ocean is comprised of some type of plastic; if things don’t change, projections state there will probably be extra plastic than fish within the water by the year 2050. Here’s why this example is so extreme.

a) Volume

We can see large quantities of plastic floating over the water, and the worst half is that what we see solely represents 5% of the particular complete plastic in oceans, seas, and waterways. The different 95% lies beneath the floor, harming aquatic life and ecosystems, and even tourism.

This is an unlucky byproduct of the present state of plastic manufacturing all over the world, which is 20 instances greater than it was 40 years in the past. Every year, a further 8 million tons of this dangerous materials find yourself in oceans and seas. Today, between 15 and 51 trillion items of plastic could be discovered within the ocean.

b) Longevity

Plastic is an extremely sturdy materials, which looks as if a positive factor – till you notice that this implies it doesn’t deteriorate or rot. Plastic within the ocean doesn’t simply fade away; it stays there for hundreds of years, inflicting increasingly more to build up. In reality, specialists state that all kinds of plastic which have ever been made nonetheless exist someplace in the present day.

Only 14% of the plastic within the ocean could be recycled, so simply recycling gained’t be almost sufficient to cease the continuous addition of extra plastic within the ocean. To make issues worse, they proceed to launch poisonous chemical compounds into the water for the complete time they’re down there.

c) Movement

Plastic is a lightweight materials with little or no density. This permits it to wind up being transported on the waves to all kinds of locations all over the world. This signifies that plastic waste isn’t an issue for only one nation – it impacts the entire earth.

d) Life

The presence of plastic in our oceans could be very harmful to the life inside it, and the lives that depend upon it. Over 300,000 aquatic and marine creatures are both harmed or killed by plastic.

This occurs as a result of underwater life turns into tangled in plastic. Some creatures (together with seabirds, fish, turtles, and mussels) devour the plastic, harming their digestive programs fatally.

Many who see lifeless animals in or close to the water will witness the harrowing sight of plastic nonetheless inside their our bodies as they decompose. It’s actually horrifying how lethal these plastics are, as it’s estimated that 99% of all birds of the ocean could have consumed plastic in some unspecified time in the future by the year 2050 if the development continues.

e) New Threats

Unfortunately, with new improvements and technology come much more dangerous types of plastic. Many beauty merchandise add microbeads to their merchandise, and these are literally extraordinarily tiny bits of plastic. They are mostly utilised in scrubs and likewise in toothpaste.

These microplastics go by means of filters and drains, so that they usually wind up within the seas and oceans, the place they are going to be consumed by quite a lot of marine life.

The State of Australia’s Plastic Waste

Australia is, with out contest, the second-highest waste producer of all international locations on this planet. (The first is the United States.) This is because of the truth that landfills in Australia accumulate over 1,520 kilos’ price of waste materials yearly – greater than sufficient to cover Victoria, one in every of its states!

Of this quantity, 35% of the waste is plastic, making it one of the vital common kinds of waste thrown out within the nation. Additionally, 16.6% of plastic waste was brought on by plastic luggage in 2017; hopefully, these numbers are dwindling now with extra firms stopping their utilisation of this materials. As such, we will look ahead with positive thinking.

This is probably going why all states and territories within the nation have begun taking steps in direction of curbing additional plastic use. Kmart and Target, each massive retail firms, have additionally made guarantees to cease using single-use plastic luggage of their shops. These pledges have been made this year.

What You Can Do To Reduce Plastic Waste

Plastic use doesn’t simply have an effect on Australia. It’s a world drawback. So, regardless of the place you’re on this planet, you are able to do your half for the planet by chopping down by yourself plastic waste. It sounds troublesome, however don’t fear! Keep your optimistic pondering going and check out the following tips.

a) Get Reusable Shopping Bags

One trillion plastic luggage are produced, used, after which disposed of on a yearly foundation internationally. In the US, that quantity is 100 billion – which means almost all Americans use a single-use plastic bag each single day. Compare that to a rustic like Denmark, the place the typical individual makes use of 4 of most of these plastic luggage in a year!

Buy some buying luggage which you could carry together with you while you buy groceries. You can get them in all kinds of sizes to greatest fit your wants.

b) Don’t Buy Plastic Packaging

When you’re shopping for merchandise, go for objects not packaged in plastic. Don’t purchase produce wrapped in plastic wrap, don’t purchase liquid cleaning soap (go for bars!), and say goodbye to disposable plastic cutlery.

c) Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

The major drawback with single-use plastics is that they need to be thrown out after each use. Don’t enable that to occur. Go for objects that you understand you’ll be able to reuse or drop in a recycling bin. This retains energy commodities in verify and permits for renewed resources.

Eighteen % of all plastics on this planet are recycled. Some international locations accomplish that higher than others. In the US, that proportion drops to 9%. So do your half to cut back, reuse, and recycle!

d) Buy A Refillable Bottle

Plastic bottles are accountable for lots of plastic waste, which is why so many cities have banned them all over the world. Buying a reusable bottle and stopping all plastic bottle purchases a great way to assist scale back plastic waste.

Concerned about water high quality? Boil water earlier than using it, spend money on a very good water filter, or purchase a bottle that has a filter inbuilt. There are some reusable bottle merchandise designed to make nearly all water drinkable, too. So check out these!

e) Don’t Use Straws

Stop taking straws along with your drinks. Decline to have them included while you’re choosing up a beverage from a retailer.

If you will have a medical want that requires you use straws, and plastic ones are your greatest choices, see when you’ve got any options. Metal straws and paper straws are nice choices. Furthermore,  improvements now make them as safe and purposeful as plastic!

f) Quit Littering

This one goes with out saying, however littering is without doubt one of the many ways in which waste finds its approach into the ocean. According to The Ocean Conservancy, which has achieved seaside cleanup operations for 3 a long time, many of the trash they decide up is plastic.

This is true all all over the world. In reality, 73% of the litter you see crowding the seaside comes from plastic. So in the event you’re trying to have somewhat enjoyable within the solar, carry alongside a washable bag or one other merchandise which you could use to carry your trash till you discover someplace to correctly eliminate it.


Australia’s commendable and profitable efforts to cut back plastic waste in a optimistic approach ought to set an instance for the remainder of the world. Our oceans and the setting are in peril as a result of extra plastic, and this challenge must be taken critically by folks throughout the planet.

So do your half in the present day to cut back plastic waste! Why not start with plastic luggage?

Back to top button