Decision's finally in the bag
DESIRÉ Gralton was a very happy woman on Wednesday morning.
The Boomerang Bags promoter and campaigner who has tirelessly fought for a ban on single-use plastic bags woke up to discover the State Government had "finally” passed laws to achieve her goal, along with a new container return system.
"Finally - it's been a long time coming,” Ms Gralton said.
"There has been a lot of effort; people have been adjusting to not using the bags. We've seen the ABC's War on Waste, the general public, they're all on board.”
On Tuesday evening, the government passed new laws banning single-use plastic bags in shops and supermarkets from next July, however heavier department store bags will be exempt.
The refund system will apply to most drink bottles between 150ml and three litres, making 10c returns available for recyclers.
"But why wait until July?” Ms Gralton said.
"More and more people have been approaching Boomerang Bags, and shops want to get away from plastics.”
Noosa MP Glen Elmes welcomed the news and said he had campaigned for better waste management practices since 2009.
"While we trail other states and many countries around the world, this legislation will not only achieve obvious environmental outcomes; it will arrest a staggering acceptance that waste is an unavoidable by-product of living in the 21st century,” he told Parliament on Tuesday.
"Queenslanders use around one billion single-use plastic bags each year and the average family collects about 60 each week.
"These bags are used for around 12 minutes and take roughly 1000 years to decompose if indeed they do at all.
"According to the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, 16million of these bags are littered and easily picked up by the wind, allowing them to escape landfill. Many of these bags then enter our rivers, creeks and oceans.”
Mr Elmes said businesses would need to provide alternative solutions for their customers, and has organised a forum on Tuesday, September 19 at Noosa's The J to help them prepare.