3 months until plastic bags banned for retail use in Queensland

The state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect on July 1 with shoppers forced to purchase an alternative bag or bring their own from home. Picture Courtesy: Huffington Post

THE days of shoppers having their groceries packed in new plastic bags are coming to an end in Queensland with retailers banned from providing them in 3 months’ time. 

The state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect on July 1 with shoppers forced to purchase an alternative bag or bring their own from home.

“Whether it’s grabbing groceries at the supermarket or picking up dinner from the local takeaway, conventional plastic bags will no longer be available to shoppers,” National Retail Association’s David Stout said.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They fly off trash piles, garbage trucks, and landfills, and then clog storm water infrastructure, float down waterways, and spoil the landscape. If all goes well, they end up in proper landfills where they may take 1,000 years or more to break down into ever smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water.

Plastic bags also pose a danger to birds and marine mammals that often mistake them for food. Floating plastic bags regularly fool sea turtles into thinking they are one of their favourite prey, jellyfish. Thousands of animals die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags. This mistaken identity issue is apparently a problem even for camels in the Middle East!

Plastic bags exposed to sunlight for long enough to undergo physical breakdown. Ultra-violet rays turn the plastic brittle, breaking it into ever smaller pieces. The small fragments then mix with soil, lake sediments, are picked up by streams, or end up contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other oceanic trash deposits.

Finally, producing plastic bags, transporting them to stores, and bringing the used ones to landfills and recycling facilities require millions of gallons of petroleum, a non-renewable resource which can arguably be better used for more beneficial activities like transportation or heating.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of things you can do to help:

Switch to reusable shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags made from renewable materials conserve resources by replacing paper and plastic bags. Reusable bags are convenient and come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials. When not in use, some reusable bags can be rolled or folded small enough to fit easily into a pocket. Make sure you wash them regularly.

Recycle your plastic bags. If you do end up using plastic bags now and then, be sure to recycle them. Many grocery stores now collect plastic bags for recycling. If yours does not, check with your community recycling program to learn how to recycle plastic bags in your area.

If you are looking for sustainable ecofriendly bags for yourself or your business visit https://www.ecobags.com.au/