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Archived media releases and speeches


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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

23 June 2006

Ministers agree on plastic bags action

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today welcomed State and Territory agreement to renew action encouraging retailers and shoppers to reduce plastic bag use.

“Australian shoppers and retailers have achieved tremendous results since the voluntary retailer code was agreed in 2003, with major supermarkets now using 45 per cent fewer bags than they did in 2002,” Senator Campbell said.

“This means that three billion plastic bags have been taken out of circulation since 2002.”

State and Territory Environment Ministers meeting at the Environment Protection and Heritage Council in Sydney agreed to continue voluntary action by industry to achieve a phase-out of single use, lightweight plastic bags by the end of 2008.

“In addition to continued use of reusable ‘green’ bags, retailers are also exploring whether they can introduce a suitable biodegradable bag to replace the remaining lightweight plastic bags,” Senator Campbell said.

“Development of different kinds of bags means consumers will be able to choose the plastic bag-alternative solution that best suits them. This might include reusable bags, a suitable biodegradable bag, or a box.”

“To accelerate action in this area, I have provided a grant of $40,000 to the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association to develop a national Guide and Commitment that will help guide the introduction of degradables in Australia.”

“To further encourage reductions in plastic bag use, particularly among smaller retailers, the Australian Government will also provide a $29,000 Natural Heritage Trust grant to ‘Bag Smart’ to undertake a three month trial programme in Western Australia.”

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

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