"I'm sorry NSW, but South Australia's been doing just fine without plastic bags for years."


New South Wales, we need to have a chat about the plastic bag ban.

Just you. Not WA, or South Australia, or Victoria or Queensland. Yep, just you.

Come, take a seat and brace yourselves for some hard truths.

This week, your overreaction to the recent single use plastic bag initiative (and overall attitude problem) effectively forced Coles to reverse its plastic bag ban. Now, they’ll be handing out the reusable bags for free because you need more time.

The same thing happened only a month ago, when within 24 hours of Woolworths removing single use plastic bags from NSW stores, they brought in a ‘cooling off period’ of free bags for customers, as we discussed on Mamamia Out Loud.

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For some of you, the thought of not having a single use plastic bag available to you at all times is a scandal, an outrage even.

But down in good ole South Australia a.k.a Adelaide a.k.a the city where nothing happens, we’ve been doing just fine without plastic bags for years.

Literally, it’s been almost 10 years since my people and I last used a plastic bag.

When I first moved to Sydney, I was so shocked to see the grey, bad for the environment plastic bags at the checkout instead of the white, shiny reusable ones I’d been paying 15 cents for since 2009.


To put it in perspective, the last time I used a plastic bag in Adelaide, I was in high school buying cans of Coke and a Dolly magazine.

And when I cast my mind back to the fateful day plastic bags were banned (which was May 4, 2009 to be exact) I remember… nothing… because… nothing happened.

The sky did not come crashing down on Adelaide Oval.

No one went bankrupt… in relation to paying for reusable bags, at least.

There was no riot, or social media pile on, and no one’s life was ruined.

ross friends
All of us when we first couldn't use plastic bags. Image: Giphy.

Was it inconvenient? Sure, but we got used to it. Did it mean we had to take an extra second to grab reusable bags out of the boot, or run back out to the car park when we forgot them? Yes, and after three weeks, it all became habit.

The other thing that happened is, as estimated by the South Australian Government, we ended up with 400 million less plastic bags in the state thanks to the change. And although it will, in my opinion, always be the superior state, SA's not the only one to have banned single use plastic bags (but don't forget, it was the first).

In fact, EVERY SINGLE STATE in the country has made the switch. Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT. Yes, Canberra too.

Which brings me back to you, NSW.

It's time to catch up with the rest of the country and get over the plastic bag ban.

Life will go on. And for those of you who like to lead a spontaneous life of going to the supermarket on a whim, your life will go on too. Just accept it'll cost you a whopping 15 to 99 cents each time.

So no more whingeing and back flipping, OK?

It's time to suck it up because plastic bags are crap.

Do you think NSW will be able to come to terms with a plastic bag ban? And should supermarkets be holding firm, no matter how much backlash they get?