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It is estimated that Australians use 7-8 billion plastic bags a year and millions of these end up in landfills, our waterways and oceans or in the stomachs of defenseless seabirds and turtles.

As part of the Market’s Toward Zero program, we are actively reducing the amount of waste generated at the Market, and the next step is to review the use of plastic bags.

South Melbourne Market is fully supportive of Port Phillip Council’s push for the Victorian Government to “ban the bag”, helping protect wildlife and the environment from the millions of plastic bags tossed away each year.

We don’t have to wait until the government makes the decision, we would like to ban plastic bags at the Market as soon as possible.

Community Survey Results:

On 26 June 2017, we launched a #BantheBag Community Survey to gauge the community’s position on the subject. The survey ran until Sunday 9 July and the results were:

  • 1,621 people responded
  • 90% were in support of a ban on single use plastic bags.
  • 95.61% were in support of a marketing campaign to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.
  • 85.7% said they would pay up to 10c for alternative bags.

We are very excited about these results, and they will be used in the development of a Plastic Bag Ban Strategy at the Market over the coming months. It is our target to have the ban on single use plastic shopping bags by early 2018.

Other issues that will need to be addressed through the process is the use of barrier bags (produce bags) and if we can get a more environmentally responsible alternative for butchers, poulterers and seafood traders.

We are now in the process of working with our traders to document our strategy to make this happen.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our #BanTheBag community survey.

Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Kenya, Morocco and Tanzania are just some on a long list of countries with national plastic bag bans. Australia is not on the list. Not yet. We believe plastic bags should be consigned to the history books, noted as a time when convenience trumped the natural world. A time when the people of this planet used billions and billions (and billions) of plastic bags every year instead of reusable shoppers. A time when many political leaders were misguided in their inability to ban them. A time when our seas, waterways, land and the animal kingdom were being choked and contaminated by them. When we look back at this key time, this pivotal moment, you can say “I played a part”, knowing you were involved in something bigger, connected to millions of people with the same hopes, connected to the earth, connected to the future. – By Andy Marks, “War on Waste” Impact Producer

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