Beginning this year there will be a 3 or 4 stage process leading up to the complete banning of plastic bags by 2012. During this period there will be an extensive campaign to educate the public regarding the dangers of plastic bags and the advantages of alternatives such as jute bags, paper bags and biodegradable bags.
Albury Enviro Bags of course applauds moves to reduce pollution and plastic bag use and promote the use of more environmentally friendly alternatives. However, having said this, we do have some reservations about the best methods to ensure an environmentally responsible community. Most concerns about plastic bag use result from improper disposal of the bags and consequent littering of the environment. This clearly is a human behaviour problem which requires modifying, but is banning the product the best way of making people more environmentally responsible in regard to waste disposal? Even now many are concerned that the new biodegradable plastic bags will result in even more littering as these bags are being promoted as being environmentally “safe”, thereby actually encouraging littering behaviour.
We all need to adopt a more environmentally responsible attitude. Manufacturers need to minimise the amount of packaging and maximise the use of the most environmentally friendly alternatives. Consumers need to become more responsible by disposing of waste properly and using reusable bags instead of single use throwaway products.
Legislative banning of products will never be a substitute for responsible human behaviour.