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COMMUNITIES URGED TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS AS PART OF CLEAN UP DAY CAMPAIGN

Communities urged to ban plastic bags as part of Clean Up Day campaign

Media Release 11 January, 2008

Communities could introduce their own ban on plastic bags rather than waiting for the Federal Government to phase them out or impose a levy, Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO said today.

Arguments continue about whether a ban or a levy on plastic bags should occur but a number of communities have already shown the way and introduced their own ban, Mr Kiernan said.

"Delays in introducing a ban on plastic shopping bags are costing our environment dearly. 3.9 billion are being handed out each year in Australia and they either end up in landfill or choking our waterways and marine life," Mr Kiernan said.

"Clean Up Australia Day is on Sunday 2 March, and communities could consider announcing a ban as part of the action they take to help clean up".

Registrations are now open. Anyone can register a Clean Up site and community organisations are also encouraged to get involved by visiting www.cleanup.org.au or calling 1800 CUA DAY (1800 282 329)

Mr Kiernan said comments by Environment Minister Peter Garrett that action on plastic bags will occur by the end of the year are a welcome step forward, but action is needed now.

"We know that only 2 to 3 per cent of plastic bags are recycled, leaving 90 per cent of the population reusing plastic bags, which still means they end up in the environment."

"That means something like 3.76 billion plastic bags still going to landfill - more that 20,000 tonnes of plastic every year."

"Almost 4 billion plastic bags are still being produced for Australian use every year. The rubbish problem they create, the detriment they cause to kerbside recycling systems and the resources and energy used to produce them are something that cannot be justified."

"There is a simple solution, stop using them altogether. Communities accross Australia have already taken the lead by banning plastic bags in their own towns and suburbs," Mr. Kiernan said.

Further information: Paul Sheridan, 0410 516 656

 

 
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