REVEALED: How the plastic bag ban is helping to destroy the Australian economy – as shoppers hit out at ‘hypocritical’ supermarkets
- Retailers Coles and Woolworths banned free single-use plastic bags last year
- Some businesses have since claimed the bans contributed to a weaker economy
- They say people are shopping less because they cannot carry too many items
Consumers are spending less in shops across the nation, and some business owners believe bans on single-use plastic bags may be to blame.
Supermarkets Coles and Woolworths made the decision to ban free single-use plastic bags last year in response to concerns about their environmental impact.
But Australian businesses have since warned Treasury that the bans have contributed to a weaker economy because shoppers aren’t able to carry as many groceries back to their cars.
‘Several firms suggested that the introduction of a ban on plastic bags meant customers reduced their consumption to an amount that they could instead carry, and delayed purchases of heavier groceries,’ the report, which was seen by The Australian, read.
Retailers Coles and Woolworths made the nationwide decision to ban free single-use plastic bags last year in response to concerns about their environmental impact (stock image)
Some shoppers have hit out at retailers, and said the decision to stop providing customers free plastic bags but still packaging foods in unnecessary plastic is hypocritical.
Jordy Elkington, from Hawthorn in Melbourne, told the publication ‘they need to get rid of it all, I can’t believe they package things like apples.’
‘I think it’s a good thing, obviously. It’s annoying sometimes but it’s for a good cause. Give it another year and it will just be normal — people will always have bags in their car.’
UNSW Business School professor of economics Richard Holden argued shoppers would only be sacrificing items they didn’t necessarily need to begin with.
‘What are heavy groceries? It’s things like bottles of soda and soft drink. A plastic bag ban isn’t going to mean that people aren’t feeding their children or buying the things they really need.
He said its ‘not the end of the universe’ if shoppers choose to forego excess items and stick to the necessities.
Australians are wasting 3.1million tonnes of food every year, the Department of Environment reported.
Businesses alone discard another 2.2million tonnes.
Food wastage costs are estimated to be about $20 billion annually, but Professor Holden believes if limited access to plastic bags is driving down consumer purchasing, it means they’re coming home with less waste.
In addition to Coles and Woolworths nationwide bans, single-use plastic bags are illegal in South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT.
Victoria has indicated it could join also implement the policy by November.
Australian businesses warned the Treasury that bans have contributed to a weaker economy because shoppers aren’t able to carry as many groceries back to their cars (stock image)