Australia supermarkets banned single use plastic bags 80% in 3 months

Two of Australia’s biggest supermarkets have banned single use plastic bags, which has dropped their use by 80% in less than three months. The ban has only been through Woolworths and Coles, who received some backlash from irate customers who didn’t want to give up the convenience of having disposable bags, but after the success of the ban people are hoping that the government takes up the cause.

The Big Think has more on the impact of the story.

The decision by Australia's two largest supermarkets to ban plastic bags three months ago wasn't exactly well received. At Woolworths, sales slowed during the first few weeks as customers adjusted. The rivaling Coles supermarket began giving away reusable plastic bags for free, but then started charging for them, which angered shoppers and soon caused the chain to reverse course and resume its free-giveaway program.

It was a rocky start. But three months later Australia reports an 80 percent reduction in plastic bag consumption, a cut that kept as many as 1.5 plastic bags from entering the environment, according to Australia's National Retail Association.

Several Australian states have banned or plan to ban plastic bags, however the recent reductions were brought by the private sector.

"Retailers deserve an enormous amount of cudos for leading the way on one of the most significant changes to consumer behavior in generations and we also applaud shoppers for embracing this environmental initiative," said NRA Manager of Industry Policy David Stout. "Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent."

Hopefully we will start seeing this initiative take impact in more of the world. The effects have been proven to be huge positive for the environment as we see by Reuse the Bag.