Minister fails on plastic bags


The failure of environment ministers to take action on plastic bags and recycling underscores their hopeless capture by the big food and beverage corporations, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said today.

"This is a plastic-wrapped, recycled failure to take action. With the exception of South Australia, it is no different to repeated failures to take action by Howard-era ministers for the environment," Senator Brown said.

"Australians throw away 4 billion plastic bags every year. The ministers have instead decided to continue to support voluntary action from retailers, which last year saw plastic bag use skyrocket by almost 40%."

The Greens support an outright ban or a levy and have re-introduced a private members’ bill to the Senate which applies a 25c levy on plastic bags. Similar levies have reduced the use of plastic bags by up to 90% in countries like Ireland.

"Shoppers who don’t want to pay a levy would have the option of bringing their own ‘green’, canvas or string bags to the shops," Senator Brown said.

Senator Brown also said the Australian Greens were working with state Greens parliamentarians to introduce state and federal legislation to pave the way for a national container deposit scheme.

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