THE State Government wants to ban single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bags in Victoria “as soon as practical”, and now’s your chance to have your say on what this ban should look like, as well as other ways to reduce plastic waste.
Tammy Logan, a Nyora resident and the author of the popular blog ‘Gippsland Unwrapped’ which focuses on plastic and waste free living, urges all Victorians to participate in the public consultation process by completing the Reducing Plastic Pollution Survey.
“We want to make sure we get a system that does the right thing and not one that’s going to cause other issues,” Tammy said.
“Tasmania’s plastic bag ban has resulted in a lot of businesses giving out heavier weight plastic bags, but Queensland has banned those sorts of bags as well.
“We want a good system in Victoria that really works to reduce plastic pollution. Something like Queensland’s but hopefully, even better.”
The online survey also presents the opportunity to discuss other plastic pollution issues, and Tammy hopes people will tell the government to ban microbeads, microfibers and balloon releases as well as plastic bags.
“When people release helium balloons into the air, those balloons and their attachments land somewhere eventually and cause environmental problems,” she said.
Tammy says it’s important that the government takes action to reduce plastic pollution as it’s becoming an urgent environmental problem.
“Plastic is something that easily escapes our garbage collection systems and goes into stormwater drains, creeks and oceans. It can then be ingested by animals and those animals can starve when plastic fills up their gut.
“They can also get tangled up and badly injured by plastic pollution. And plastic in the ocean actually attracts contaminants and that toxicity can go up the food chain to us humans.”
Tammy says plastic is “something we don’t need to have” and it’s not as hard as people think to live without plastic bags.
“It’s just about getting into the habit of bringing your own bag with you when you go shopping. It might take a bit of getting used to but you will get there,” she said.
She also says there are a range of alternatives for people concerned about what they’ll use for bin liners or picking up dog waste if plastic bags are banned.
“There are compostable dog poo bags on the market that can go into your organics bin (in some shires such as Bass Coast).
“We can also use pooper scoopers, or reuse what we already have – like normal plastic bags, bread bags or chip packets – instead of buying a special kind of plastic bag for dog poo,” she says.
“Newspaper is a good alternative to plastic bin liners. There’s no requirement to have your rubbish bagged up in the wheelie bin. Often people are just using bin liners because of the mucky stuff – the wet waste – but if we put as much food waste into compost as possible, that will take out most of the wet waste and eliminate the need for plastic bags.”
Consultation on the plastic bag ban is open until January 25, 2018. To have your say go to www.engage.vic.gov.au/waste/plastic-pollution.