Ban applauded

July 17, 2017

Shepparton-Mooroopna Landcare’s Gerry Goonan.

The Shepparton-Mooroopna Landcare group has welcomed the two supermarket giants’ decision to ban single-use plastic bags.

Shepparton-Mooroopna Landcare’s Gerry Goonan said he hoped the leadership of Woolworths and Coles would encourage others to do the same.

Mr Goonan said the ban came just after a recent community clean-up of Kaieltheban Park in Mooroopna.

‘‘Some of the stuff we collected there included plastic bags,’’ Mr Goonan said.

Woolworths Group announced on Friday it would no longer offer single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags across its entire store network in Australia within the next 12 months.

The announcement was shortly followed by Coles, which said it would also implement the ban.

The change ensures Victorians, where government legislation on plastic bags has not yet been implemented, will come in line with customers in states and territories where the ban is already legislated.

Mr Goonan hoped with the leadership of the supermarket giants, it would put pressure on the Victorian Government to implement statewide legislation.

Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said the company currently gave out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags each year.

‘‘Our team continues to work hard to minimise our impact on the environment through the minimisation of food waste, ethical and sustainable sourcing, and reduction in energy use,’’ Mr Banducci said.

Despite store products being largely packaged in plastic, Mr Banducci said customers could also expect further commitments to reduce plastic use in all parts of Woolworths’ supply chain, especially in fruit and vegetables.

Mr Goonan said although it was good news the ban had been implemented, there were still problems when it came to other plastics in the environment.

‘‘We’ve still got a big issue with plastic straws, coffee cups and plastic water bottles, which was evident when we cleaned up at Mooroopna,’’ he said.

The ban will be introduced during the next 12 months.

Victoria follows South Australia, the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania where single-use lightweight plastic shopping bag bans are already in place, with Queensland also legislated to join mid next year.

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