A spontaneous trip to the shops could be a little harder if the NSW Government passes a ban on single use plastic bags.
Labor will introduce a bill to the NSW Parliament next year to ban the bags, and has called on the Government for bipartisan support.
State Member for Londonderry, Prue Car, has supported the ban, which other states and territories already have in place.
“Banning the sale of single use plastic bags is an environmental protection initiative the Government can easily get behind,” she said.
“Plastic bags have already been banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT with a proposal being considered in Queensland.”
Ms Car said the impact of plastic bags on the environment is clear.
“It is estimated that in NSW alone, up to 61 million lightweight plastic bags are littered each year,” she said.
“This is a sensible step to ensure that we see less plastic bags clogging our drains and polluting our bush lands.”
Labor’s bill will be modelled on the current ban in the ACT, where retailers are unable to provide single-use, lightweight polyurethane bags of 35 microns or less.
If passed, retailers will be able to charge for alternative, re-usable bags or provide the heavier style retail bags that are usually used by clothing stores.
Other bags that do not fall under the ban include ‘barrier’ bags for loose fruit and vegetables, biodegradable bags, paper bags, bin liners, and of course reusable bags such as ‘green’ bags.
Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, said the policy is reasonable to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in our environment.
“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of plastic bags end up in our waterways and bushlands,” she said.
“It’s an environmental nasty that can easily be reduced by reasonable policies on plastic bags.”
Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, said the Government has an obligation to take reasonable and sensible steps to protect the environment for future generations.
Labor intends to bring forward legislation through a Private Member’s Bill for debate in Parliament next year.