A MOVE by major supermarket chains to ban plastic bags is expected to increase the life of the Tamworth Landfill.
IGA supermarkets followed suit on Tuesday and committed to being “light-weight plastic shopping bag free” within the next year.
German supermarket chain Aldi has never provided single-use plastic bags at the checkout and sells multi-use bags for 15 cents and fabric bags for 99 cents.
Tamworth regional council waste sustainability officer Angela Dodson said she expected the changes to impact on the amount of plastic waste in landfills.
“Any ban on plastic bags has to be good for the environment overall,” she said.
“We would anticipate a reduction of single-use plastic bags in landfill.
“It’s a good move that corporations are looking at sustainability and also consumer demand. Consumers are demanding the change.”
Ms Dodson said she understood the move had been on the cards for some time for major supermarkets and hoped it could have a flow-on effect to smaller businesses.
“They could change the type of bags they provide, they could use paper bags as an alternative depending what type of shop it is, or they could also encourage people to bring their own reusable bags.
“The community has a choice what to take when they do their shopping.
“We are always looking at reducing the waste to landfill and increasing the longevity of the site we have. This initiative of supermarkets is a good step in the right direction.”
She said because there were different types of plastic bags, some more perishable than others, it is estimated they could take anywhere between 20 to 1000 years to break down.
Challenge Recycling manager Victor Collett said he didn’t believe there would be a great reduction in bags coming through the centre, but encouraged residents to recycle them back through supermarkets rather than in their yellow garbage bins.
“The plastic bag ban is only at supermarkets at this stage, other businesses will still have them and hand them out,” he said.
“It will be good, as far as less mess coming through, and it might stop a few people packaging their recycling into plastic bags, but I don’t see a great slowdown unless there’s a total ban on them.
“A lot of people do recycle their plastic bags through the supermarkets and we get a lot of that plastic that way.
“We get a lot of bags, but not just shopping bags that come through – it’s not going to stop.”
- Editorial P9