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Publications archive - Waste and recycling

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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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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.

Plastic Retail Carry Bag Use 2002-2005 Consumption

2005 end of year report
25 May 2006

Executive Summary

The Department of the Environment and Heritage commissioned Hyder Consulting to prepare an estimate of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic shopping bag use in 2005.

Hyder Consulting estimates that Australians used 3.92 billion plastic bags in the 2005 calendar year, down 34.2 per cent compared with use in 2002. This equates to 2.03 billion fewer bags consumed in 2005 from the 2002 baseline.

The Hyder Consulting report draws on data from Australian Customs and information from plastic bag manufacturers and retailers to estimate bag consumption. The estimates on bag use by retail sector are derived from information obtained both from retailers and other sources.
The principal source of information used by Hyder Consulting on bag consumption by the supermarket sector was the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) 2005 Report against the voluntary retailer code of practice. ANRAs report is available on the EPHC website (89 KB PDF file)

The ANRA report estimates that use of plastic bags by major supermarkets in 2005 had fallen 45 per cent since 2002, taking into consideration growth in the retail sector since 2002. An allowance for store growth was allowed for by the Code of Practice for the Management of Plastic Bags which was endorsed by EPHC Ministers in October 2003.

Based on ANRA figures, Hyder estimates that the reduction in bag use by major supermarkets had fallen 41.4 per cent since 2002 in absolute terms.

The 2005 ANRA Report and the Hyder Report are therefore in agreement on the question of supermarket reductions for both scenarios.

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