Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.
Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.
NOLAN-ITU Pty Ltd for the
Department of the Environment and Heritage, March 2005
- There is no precise measure of bag usage across retail sectors.
- There is clear evidence from bag import data and Australian bag manufacturers that there has been a reduction in bag usage in Australia.
- The estimated reduction in lightweight HDPE bags from 2002 to 2004 is 20.4% or 1.22 billion bags.
- The reduction in the supermarket sector is estimated to be higher than this reflecting a higher level of activity by retailers and community organisations in these stores. It is estimated that the reduction in the supermarket sector is 25% (or 26.9% when adjusted for store growth.)
- The reduction across the rest of the retail industry is estimated to be lower although there will be individual exceptions such as where retailers have introduced a charge for bags and the reduction is much greater (over 80%).
- The reduction in LDPE shopping bags has been less significant. This reflects the lack of a national policy to reduce the use of LDPE bags and as a consequence, the lower level of reduction activity in the non-supermarket sectors. The LDPE bag is heavier and used mostly where the bag is taken directly home. It is therefore less likely to be a feature in the litter stream. On the other hand its heavier bag mass means that it is a significant percentage of resource use (36.8% of total bags in terms of weight).
- Industry observations are that the reductions in bag use over the past two years are the result of increased consumer awareness, better staff training and the more widespread availability and use of heavier duty reusable carry bags. There is a concern among some retailers that this reduction may represent a ‘harvesting of the low hanging fruit’ and the target of reaching a 50% reduction from 2002 consumption in the next 12 months will be more difficult to achieve. The achievement of the 2005 target is seen as possible only with a more substantial and widespread focus across all retail sectors in the very near future.