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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Ballina council considers push to ban plastic bags

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Plastic bags are a danger to marine wildlife and should be banned, activists say. (file pic)
Plastic bags are a danger to marine wildlife and should be banned, activists say. (file pic)

Tweed Shire Council did it last week, and Ballina councillor Keith Williams is hoping his fellow councillors will follow that lead by joining the push to ban single use plastic bags.

Cr Williams has lodged a notice of motion to be considered at this week’s meeting which urges the NSW Government to introduce legislation to ban single use plastic bags to a level at least consistent with other State Governments such as South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Cr Williams, who is also the acting general manager at the Australian Seabird Rescue group based in Ballina, also wants the council to ‘actively promote and encourage the minimisation of the use of single use plastic bags through the Community Connect publication’.

‘Australia currently uses 4 billion single use, plastic shopping bags per year,’ Cr Williams said.

‘The impact on oceans and wildlife is devastating, with marine plastic debris considered a key threatening process for sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals.

‘The ABC TV Series, War on Waste, recently highlighted the difficulties in recycling plastic bags in Australia and demonstrated that the vast bulk of bags end up in landfill. At a huge cost to our community.

‘On 14 July 2017, Woolworths and Coles announced a voluntary phase out of single-use bags to be completed within the next year.

‘This means the two greatest obstacles to the introduction of a ban have now been surmounted. Council has previously supported resolutions to reduce or eliminate single use, plastic shopping bags. ‘


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  1. Foolish nonsense, we’ll only have to buy the plastic bags if they’re banned in supermarkets. This sounds like a push activity from the plastic bag companies.

  2. How is this going to make any difference to the usage of plastic bags. We still need to put rubbish in bags before it goes into the bin, so now it means we have to buy them which will hit pensioners in the pocket. You will still end up with bags in landfill as we cannot tip unbagged rubbish in to wheelie bins. I for one use my Coles bags as rubbish collection & what I don’t use I give to a newsagent to pass on to their customers.

  3. Going by the other states where adopted, the majority of the ‘multi’ use bags which are made from thicker plastic still only get used once…and this has not significantly altered consumer behavior or demand for bags as they just factor it in the price of shopping…We don’t go to play sport without packing the equipment, so why go shopping without taking your own bags??…people are not taking responsibility for themselves and just expect the shopping centers to sort it out.

    And now Woolies and Coles can claim how wonderful they are as corporate citizens for the environment by being proactive and eliminating ‘single use bags’…..only to introduce paid for thicker bags that use more plastic and typically get used once anyway…..resulting in even more plastic in the system … and at 15c a pop… wonder how much it costs to make them?… and how many units they anticipate selling… clearly it is all about reducing plastics in the environment and no profit opportunity.

    Seems we can fool most of the people most of the time now.


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