The Northern Territory Environment Protection (Beverage Container & Plastic Bags) Act was passed by the legislative Assembly in February 2011 with the ban to supply single-use lightweight plastic bags coming into effect in September 2011.
The Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index survey results for Northern Territory have indicated a negative result in plastic bag litter levels since the introduction of the plastic bag ban. (Our Northern Territory Litter counts are conducted in May and November over eight site types such as parks, roadways, beaches, etc.)
For five consecutive years Territorians have increased the number of plastic bag pollution and thicker heavier glossy plastic bag consumer outlay by Territorians is in excess of $20 Million Dollars to date – so we’ve created MORE litter and INCREASED our cost of living and provided more profits for stores in the Northern Territory’s process of banning plastic bags.
Performance of the plastic bag ban (from a plastic bag litter reduction perspective) has been totally unacceptable and unsatisfactory with the number of ALL plastic bags (including lightweight and thick reusable bags) showing a continuing consecutive increase in our litter pollution stream across the Territory.
Disappointingly Territorians fail to step up taking ownership, responsibility and initiative to reduce plastic bag litter pollution. Disappointingly NT Major Stores fail to partnership our request working to meet the intent of the Act – reduction plastic bag litter.
When the ban came into effect, major stores and retailers introduced a consumer cost for ‘thick’ plastic bags at the counter – with NT’s population at approximately 240,000 and assuming one person purchases two plastic bags per week per annum, the total consumer outlay for ‘thicker’ plastic bags is $4 Million Dollars annually.
Given the poor outcomes outlined above, isn’t it time for percentage of Territorian’s plastic bag money be diverted from retailer revenue towards funding NT plastic bag re-use education programs and research the ‘best’ shopping bag from cradle to grave?
We’ll certainly do our bit to find funding that will help create ‘plastic bag re-use’ awareness education and to research what exactly is the best shopping bag.