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[GreenYes] Plastic bags bans and fees

At the CRRA Conference earlier this week, someone suggested adding plastic bags to the AB2020 beverage container recycling system in CA, and adding a 5 - 10 cent redemption value for them (perhaps 5 cents for small bags and 10 cents for large bags?).  As local governments were pre-empted by AB2449 from enacting local fees on plastic bags last year, it may be appropriate that the state adopt such a fee.  What do you think?

Gary Liss

From: RicAnthony@no.address
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 17:29:45 EDT
Subject: Plastic bags ban rubbished
To: zwia@no.address

International Dialog
Davos September 2
....more to come.....
This is an international battle

Plastic bags ban rubbished

By Claire Todd-Miller.21Jul07.Sydney AU Daily Telegraph

BANNING plastic bags from shops is akin to the introduction of the cane toad, the solution is more damaging than the problem, retailers claim.

Executive director of the Australian Retailers Association David Edwards said consumers reused plastic bags as bin liners and banning them would lead to increased sales of bin liners and add to waste problems.

He was commenting on environment ministers' commitment to phase out plastic bags by 2009.

Research showed there was 89 per cent reuse of plastic bags, Mr Edwards said.

"This shows the inherent value and multiple use Australians have for plastic bags, particularly in waste management," he said.

"Totally eliminating plastic bags will lead to more environmentally damaging forms of packaging.

"Those consumers who responsibly dispose of and recycle plastic bags should not be penalised by a scattergun approach that doesn't address the core issue, people illegally littering," Mr Edwards said.

But environmental groups are saying voluntary means to reduce plastic bag use has been a failure and a ban is needed.

Clean Up Australia's Ian Kiernan rejected any voluntary scheme. "Two years ago major retailers had the opportunity to follow through on a voluntary code. They didn't reach the target," he said.

"Many people are reusing plastic bags . . . but then they end up in landfill and contribute to our greenhouse problem," he said.

Charging for bags at supermarkets was not the answer.

"Sure the consumer has a big role in reducing plastic bags but a levy (or charge) is a tax on the community, which allows the retailer to avoid taking responsibility for recycling," he said.

Mr Kiernan said the community must assess the social and environmental costs of plastic bag use, not simply on economic grounds.

"There are dozens of communities like Huskisson on Jervis Bay that are bringing in their own bans, saying that they can live without plastic bags," he said.

Alternatives such as reusable bags, plastic bags which break down naturally in sunlight, corn starch bags and plastic boxes that can be clipped into trolleys and cars are now available, he said.

Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel said Mr Edwards' comments were ridiculous.

"Thirty per cent of the public are already using Greenbags (reusable bags). It's supermarkets that are standing in the way of a comprehensive solution," he said.

Retailers failed to reduce the number of plastic bags issued by 50 per cent by 2005, a target set by ARA and signed by supermarkets including Woolworths, Coles Myer and Franklins.

Gary Liss       
Fax: 916-652-0485

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