The ban on single-use plastic bags by Australia’s two largest supermarkets prevented the introduction of an estimated 1.5 billion bags into the environment, and the retail industry is hopeful this is only the beginning.
Coles and Woolworths’ decision to stop offering single-use disposable plastic bags mid-way through the year was initially met with swift public backlash.
But three months on the radical change has translated to an 80 per cent drop in the consumption of plastic bags nationwide, according to the National Retail Association.
“Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent,” NRA’s David Stout said on Sunday.
Mr Stout says the ban was a “brave” move from the major supermarkets and it’s paving the way for smaller businesses, who typically can’t afford to risk the wrath of their customers, to follow suit.
“They’re obviously (supermarkets) seen as the product stewards so a lot of people will come back to them,” Mr Stout told AAP.
“Obviously the best thing for smaller businesses is to either engineer out the bag completely or have the customer pay … they should be able to consider that strategy without fear of backlash.”
It was a rocky start to the bag ban, but we got there in the end.
Mr Stout is hopeful major retailers will continue to lead the charge towards a more sustainable industry and move to ban other single-use packaging options.
“Everyone delivering things in a package need to take responsibility for what they deliver it in,” he said.