Woolworths single-use plastic ban welcomed by Stawell's environmental groups


WOOLWORTHS will stop using single-use plastic bags, but Stawell’s War on Waste says there is still work to be done.

The supermarket chain will no longer provide single-use plastic shopping bags nationally from June 20.

More than 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags are handed out by Woolworths nationally each year.

From the end of this month, customers can purchase thicker, reusable plastic bags for 15 cents, as well as canvas bags for 99 cents. 

Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group says plastics production could double in the next 20 years with 14 per cent of plastic packaging currently recycled globally. 

The group says this figure could rise to 70 per cent.

Project Platypus Landcare facilitator Andrea Mitchell said while plastic bags were still available for purchase, it could slow consumption. 

“It would be good if they only provided a non-plastic alternative,” she said. 

“The issue with plastic is partly because it’s too easily available. 

“It’s been really good and practical for our culture, but it’s having a negative effect on the environment.” 

To raise awareness of the use of plastic in the Northern Grampians shire, Stawell’s War on Waste group will host numerous initiatives during plastic free July. 

Stawell’s War on Waste will host two storefronts to create awareness of plastic use, as well as asking businesses to consider reducing the price for customers if people bring their own keep cups or containers, group spokeswoman Helga Saunders said. 

“We want to create awareness of how we go shopping, use cleaning products and how we buy food with plastic usage,” Ms Saunders said. 

Planet Ark chief executive Paul Klymenko said single-use plastic bags did not break down in landfill and required significant resources to manufacture in the first place. 

“Experiences in countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland have shown the introduction of small charges on plastic bags can end up reducing plastic bag usage by up to 85 per cent as shoppers embrace reusable alternatives,” Mr Klymenko said. 

Plastic free July is a global movement that started in Perth in 2011.

Since it began, it has mobilised more than two million people from over 150 countries to take measurable steps to reduce plastic use.