Mixed reviews for plastic bag ban

About time: Nikki Whitehead of Nethercote and her girls Matilda, 8, and Charley, 6, said they already avoid using plastic bags and were glad to hear that single use bags will no longer be available at the local Woolworths. Picture: Melanie Leach

About time: Nikki Whitehead of Nethercote and her girls Matilda, 8, and Charley, 6, said they already avoid using plastic bags and were glad to hear that single use bags will no longer be available at the local Woolworths. Picture: Melanie Leach

A future without single-use plastic bags is on the horizon, but while this has been praised by local enviornmentalists, there are some Sapphire Coast residents who aren’t happy.  

Woolworths announced a nationwide ban of single-use plastic bags in their stores on Friday, phasing them out by mid-2018. The decision prompted competitor Coles to do the same just two hours later, announcing it would also phase out the bags. 

Local Boomerang Bags coordinator Dorte Planert has been working on her dream of turning the Bega Valley Shire into a plastic-free zone since 2015 and while she was glad to see the grocery giants take this step she was disappointed that it wont be implemented sooner. 

"The year is a bit too long," Ms Planert said. "When they hand out billions of bags each year, it is far too long. It is like a doctor telling someone they have cancer, but waiting a year to help them."

Ms Planert also expressed frustration at the lack of action from our politicians. 

"It is astonishing the big corporations are ahead of our politicians in announcing the ban."

While, Ms Planert was frustrated at the 12 month wait, Pambula resident Rebecca Porter said giving people notice was important. 

“It’s good to have a heads up so we can prepare and use this as a transition period,” she said. 

And while Nethercote resident Nikki Whitehead said “it was about time” when the News Weekly asked shoppers about their views on the announcement many expressed their concern. 

Jessie Liddell of Pambula Beach was against the ban because she uses the bags as bin liners, whereas Ken Day of Burragate supported the ban but questioned whether it will help, stating that the replacement bags are worse for the environment. 

This opinion was echoed by Ms Planert.

"If people don't reuse them it could become worse, because they are thicker plastic, and are more dangerous to animals that confuse them as food," she said. "The best solution is still avoidance."

What do Merimbula shoppers think?

“I think it’s good because a lot ends up in our ocean and then a lot of locals are forced to pick it up. It’s good to have a heads up so we can prepare and use this as a transition period. I also think that some people could be worried because we use the bags to line our bins and we do a lot of fishing so we use them a lot then.”

 –  Rebecca Porter, Pambula

“It’s fantastic news and I think it’s about time. We already try to avoid using plastic bags and always bring our own bags when shopping and I always carry a bag around with me.”

 –  Nikki Whitehead, Nethercote

“I’m not really in favour of them getting rid of them because I always use the bags for my bins. Also when I use the green bags sometimes they overfill them and I can’t lift them.”

 – Jessie Liddell, Pambula Beach

“It’s a great idea. The only trouble is that the thick plastic bags they sell are worse than these. The only answer is brown paper bags or bringing our own. But we need to do something because our oceans are getting clogged up with the stuff.”

 –  Ken Day, Burragate 

“I’m not surprised, they have been doing it in Europe for many years. There you have to buy a bag if you want one. Aldi already does it here as well. It’s good for the environment and good for the grandchildren.”

 –  Nadine Och, Tura Beach

“If it is going to help the atmosphere then why not get rid of them? I don’t use plastic bags any way, the only time I use them is when the person in the supermarket gives them to me without asking, then I just use them in my bin.”

 – Irene Bradbury, Tura Beach

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