The major supermarkets and the Brumby Government launched an Australian-first trial today that will test a charge on plastic checkout bags.
From tomorrow, supermarket shoppers in Fountain Gate, Wangaratta and Warrnambool will pay a 10c government and industry charge for each plastic checkout bag in a bid to reduce Victoria’s use of one billion bags a year.
Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney, said between 18th August and 14th September, a 10 cent government and industry charge will be placed on plastic checkout bags from Coles, Safeway and IGA supermarkets in Warrnambool
Ms Tierney also announced that the Brumby Government will distribute 50,000 free reusable bags to vulnerable Victorians in the trial areas, through VicRelief agencies and DHS disability services.
“We want to find the most effective way to reduce the use of plastic bags, while taking into account the impact on low-income and vulnerable residents in the trial areas. These bags will enable vulnerable Victorians to avoid the charge and do their bit for the environment,” he said.
“Plastic checkout bags are a short-term convenience with long-term environmental impacts and the charge will prompt shoppers to ask themselves if they really need a bag,” Mr Jennings said.
“The trial will help to identify the best way of cutting plastic bag use and achieve the best result for customers, businesses and the environment.
Ms Tierney congratulated the residents of Warrnambool for leading the way to reduce their plastic bag use.
“I have been thrilled with the positive reaction from the Victorian community about the plastic bag trial so far.”
Ms Tierney said that funds from the trial would feed directly back into the community.
“Any funds raised after covering the costs of the trial will be spent on local environmental projects,” Ms Tierney said.
‘People in the trial locations can also have their say on the trial through a telephone feedback service.
“For the cost of a local call residents can report on their experiences in changing from a plastic bag to a more sustainable carry bag, have input on the charge for bags or make suggestions for reusing existing plastic bags,” Ms Tierney said
The telephone number is 136 186.