Plastic bags: Shop assistant 'grabbed by throat' as Australia ban starts

'Bag Rage' Kicks In as Stores Enact Plastic Ban

'Bag Rage' Kicks In as Stores Enact Plastic Ban

Australian chain Woolworths introduced a ban on the bags on 20 June, ahead of the 1 July deadline, offering reusable bags for 15 cents (£0.08; $0.11) instead.

The Australian retail workers' union reminded customers there was no excuse for abusive behaviour towards staff.

Retail giants Woolworths and Coles, which make up 70 percent of the Australian supermarkets, will implement the ban in all stores.

Western Australian's single-use plastic bag ban has begun as part of a wider crackdown on plastic waste polluting the oceans.

However, a backlash has led Woolworths to offer customers free reusable bags until July 8.

With single-use plastic bags also unavailable in Coles from July 1, Coles will open all check-outs in stores between 10am and 6pm on Sunday to help customers with the transition.

Woolworths and Coles a year ago declared plans to wilfully expel free lightweight plastic bags from their stores broadly and rather offer all the more naturally benevolent reusable bags for 15 Aus pennies (11 USA pennies) each.

But the most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria - where more than half the Australian population live - have resisted change. Are you concerned about the single-use bags being banned?

"We are taking a proactive step", a Coles spokesperson said in an emailed statement.


Supermarket staff have also had to deal with customers forcing them to overload plastic bags and to handle unhygienic bags that previously contained vomit or dirty diapers.

The Queensland ban does not apply to dog poo bags in off-leash parks, nappy bags, deli bags for fruit and vegetables, and thicker department store bags.

Target's lethargy on plastic bags is surprising as they were once a leader in the retail sector on the sustainability of shopping bags.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said single-use lightweight plastic bags were a major contributor to horrific issues in the environment.

A ban isn't actually due to come into force in Victoria until the end of the year, while there seems to be no hurry for NSW to consider a government-enforced bag ban.

'It'll take a little while for some members of our public to get used to remembering to take their reusable bags, but it won't take long until many of us just use it as everyday practice, ' she said.

Around 40 have banned single-use plastic bags, with charges or outright prohibitions in place in China, Bangladesh and about 15 African countries.

The states of South Australia and Tasmania have already banned the plastic bag.

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