Australians are the second highest producers of waste, per person, in the world—it’s an alarming fact, but sadly true.
Unfortunately, in addition to being responsible for generating huge volumes of waste to landfill, Australians are notorious for using large quantities of plastic bags. After 30 years of plastic bag use, it is estimated that 1 trillion bags are used and discarded every year around the globe—with Australians contributing to this issue.
Non-renewable natural resources such as coal, gas and oil are used to make plastics, but it isn’t just the creation of plastics (and plastic bags) that is environmentally unfriendly, it’s how many bags we are using and what happens to them after we’ve used them. Australians use nearly 4 billion plastic bags annually, which is over 10 million new bags every day. Unfortunately, this contributes to almost 21,000 tonnes of plastics being dumped into landfill throughout Australia every year. On this note, here’s another shocking statistic: Every minute, Australians are responsible for over 7,000 recyclable plastic bags going into landfill—that’s 429,000 bags per hour!
If bags aren’t put into landfill (which isn’t great for our environment anyway), they wind up discarded in our environment—on streets, in parks, wind-blown onto private properties and even deliberately dumped on the sides of roads. What many people may not realise is that plastic bags can cause serious issues for our environment. Their light weight means they are easily carried and distributed across long distances and they are incredibly durable—known to last between 20 and 100 years. One of the worst effects of plastic waste in our environment, is that it is responsible for the deaths of thousands of seabirds and marine mammals, including whales—each year.
How can we change this?
In 2016, a No Plastic Bag Policy was implemented at the Golden Plains Farmers’ Market. We strongly encourage the use of reusable and recycle bags. At each market, we give away free re-usable tote bags to encourage visitors to shop in a more environmentally friendly way. There is now community-wide consultation taking place to gather feedback on the introduction of a No Plastic Bag Policy for all community events in Golden Plains Shire.
Click here for some tips on how you and your family can use less plastic!