Tim Blair highlights an article about the South Australian government banning plastic shopping bags.
CHECKOUT-style plastic bags will disappear from South Australian shops from the close of business today as the state becomes the first in the nation to ban them.How, exactly will this save even one marine animal's life, which is part the justification for banning them?
All retailers - from large supermarkets to small takeaway food shops - are subject to the ban and will offer compostable as well as reusable bags at a cost to consumers instead.
"By banning checkout-style plastic bags we'll be cutting waste to landfill, we'll reduce the amount of litter on our streets, in our parks and our waterways,'' said state environment and conservation minister Jay Weatherill in a statement.
"Producing four billion of these bags across the country each year is an enormous waste of energy and resources and the ban will slash South Australia's share of that waste.''
The ban is expected to remove about 400 million plastic bags from SA's waste each year.
When stores open tomorrow shoppers will either have to carry the reusable so-called "green bags'', or pay up to 25 cents at major retailers for biodegradable bags.
This is the lifecycle of a plastic shopping bag:
- manufacturer makes bag
- bag goes to supermarket
- consumer buys goods, which are put in bag
- bag happily transports goods home
- groceries unpacked, bag stuck in a bag holder/other bags
- when its time comes, bag removed from holder and used for rubbish
- when full, bag tied up and thrown in garbage bin
- garbage bin goes out on bin night
- dirty, great garbage truck turns up and empties bin
- truck wanders off to local tip, deposits contents
- bag buried
- R.I.P bag
- They are one of the greenest and most energy-efficient bag materials produced today.
- Compared to plastic shopping bags, paper bags use 3.4 times more energy, produce 2 times the green house gas emissions and use 17 times more water in their manufacture.
- The amount of resin used in each bag has been decreased or “lightweighted” over time.
- Today’s plastic shopping bags use 75 % less resin than they did 20 years ago and 63 % less energy in their manufacture, while maintaining the same strength and durability.
- Yearly, the manufacture of all the plastic shopping bags used in Canada account for less than one-tenth of 1% of the annual oil and natural gas use in Canada.
- It takes 7 trucks to haul 2 million paper bags, and only 1 truck to haul 2 million plastic bags.
- Plastic shopping bags protect our food from external contaminants, and other serious food borne risks such as Salmonella and e Coli.
- Plastic shopping bags enjoy high re-use among Canadians. Independent waste audits show that at least 50% of all plastic bags are reused eg. as kitchen catchers, picking up after pets, carrying lunches and books etc.
- Conventional plastic shopping bags are 100% recyclable.
- If all of the plastic bags used in Canada were to end up in landfill, they would make up less than 1% of residential solid waste by weight.
- Percentage breakdown of municipal landfill is: Organics 45%, Paper 22%, Plastics 9%, Glass 5% and Metals 3%.
- Plastic shopping bags are not a major component of litter. Studies of Greater Toronto area communities show plastic shopping bags consistently account for less than 1% of urban litter.
It's the poor who will be hit hardest, of course, which is why the SA government is an immoral piece of crap.