The Ins and Outs of South Australia’s Plastic Bag Ban

Published On June 8, 2010

South Australia has led the way by banning plastic bags in favour of green bags which are better for the environment. Here, the reasons for the ban are outlined and how the ban has been implemented has been described.

Reasons for the ban
The obvious reason for the ban of plastic bags is the damage they have caused to the environment.
Plastic bags are detrimental to wildlife and the eco-system and in the water are often mistaken for jellyfish by marine life, some of which may die from the blockages these bags can cause in their intestines.

Disturbingly plastic bags are also not able to be broken down easily and decompose at a rate that can range from 20 to 1000 years. The large number of plastic bags that simply keep accumulating without being broken down is a huge problem in itself. This also means that an animal that has died because it has eaten a plastic bag could then decompose and that same plastic bag that it ingested could become a problem for another organism that finds it.

Plastic bags can also clog drains and waterways which can cause flooding and other problems in urban areas.

On top of all of the environmental costs that plastic bags cause they also cost money to be cleaned up.

The main points outlined in the ban

  • No plastic bags are allowed to be given out by retailers. There was a phase out period where retailers could use up their existing bags but once that time was over no plastic bags can be used.
  • This encourages consumers to bring recyclable bags with them when they shop to hold their groceries.
  • This ban means that approximately 400 million less plastic bags will be used in South Australia each year.
  • Other heavy plastic bags such as those you would receive at a clothing store are allowed and so are paper bags.
  • Green bags are also ok to use and for retailers to give out or sell.
  • Wide-spread media campaigns targeted consumers to help remind them of the ban and to make sure they bring their green bags with them when they went shopping.

Retailers using it to their advantage
There are many advantages for everyone with the ban of plastic bags. Firstly, it is better for the environment and by using environmentally friendly shopping bags you are telling your customers that you care about the planet.

Secondly, many enviro bags are made with a company logo on it so that shoppers will use their bags for all types of shopping, and as a result, spreading that brand. If you distribute high quality, environmentally friendly shopping bags that people can re-use, you’ll be giving your customers a chance to use your bags over and over for all sorts of purposes.

South Australia’s plastic bag ban could possibly set a trend throughout the whole country signalling a change in the way people shop. As a result we could significantly reduce the huge impact we have on the environment with the use of plastic bags.