Wollongong mayor backs national plastic bag ban

Dumped: All Woolworths stores will ban single-use bags by July 2018.
Dumped: All Woolworths stores will ban single-use bags by July 2018.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has welcomed Woolworths’ and Coles announcement that they will ban single-use plastic bags from stores nationwide by this time next year.

‘’It’s just another reminder to people to think about their waste, so I congratulate [them],’’ Cr Bradbery said.

However, he said this was just one of the many measures needed to help rein in litter and waste disposal across the city.

For instance, he said the NSW Government’s container deposit scheme was needed to address multitudes of bottles and drink containers dumped across the LGA.

More than four years ago, Wollongong councillors asked the two major supermarket chains to ban plastic bags. However, at the time they refused, with Woolworths saying ”the decision to use or reuse plastic bags is one for customers to make”.

The supermarket giants’ change of heart will extend to all Woolworth and Coles stores.

‘’We currently give out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags a year,’’ Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said.

‘’… and hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage.

‘’Our customers can also expect further commitments in reducing plastic use in all parts of our supply chain, especially in fruit and vegetables.

‘’We are committed to listening to our customers and also doing the right thing for the environment, and we feel this is an issue we need to take a stand on.’’

Woolworths’ latest move comes amid a growing social media campaign to 'ban the bag', which is calling on the premiers of NSW, Victoria and Western Australia to introduce state-wide bans of single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags.

A petition being circulated online has been signed by more than 160,000 people.

German supermarket chain Aldi, which opened in Australia in 2001, has never provided single-use plastic bags at the checkout and sells multi-use bags for 15 cents and fabric bags for 99 cents.