A volunteer working to keep rubbish out of the Macquarie River at Dubbo has added her voice to calls for a statewide ban on plastic bags.
“It would be a really good complementary measure to guide consumer behaviour away from unnecessary waste production.
The NSW government remained silent on the issue on Friday afternoon as Woolworths, Coles and Harris Farm introduced their own plans to stop supplying plastic bags to customers.
The retailers will make the move next year.
Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare member Melissa Gray said she was excited about the step taken by the supermarket chains and called on the government to bring in a ban.
Ms Gray said with the introduction of the container deposit scheme coming in December, it made sense to ban plastic bags as well.
“It would be a really good complementary measure to guide consumer behaviour away from unnecessary waste production,” she said.
“It’s something the community obviously wants because we’re so sick of rubbish in our rivers.”
Harris Farm chief executive Angus Harris said the market-driven ban was encouraging, but the NSW government now needed to “cement” it through regulation.
South Australia, ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have already implemented statewide bans, while there are plans in place for Queensland to do the same next year.
Ms Gray also reported of the progress of a local move to provide an alternative to single-use bags.
A new group was in the process of setting up a project to make reusable shopping bags out of salvaged materials.
Formed by members of Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare, Mid-Macquarie Landcare and the broader community, the group had decided on a product name.
“I can say there’s a group who are going to produce Bush Bags,” Ms Gray said.
Ms Gray said she thought shoppers were in the main supportive of the move by the supermarkets, and would perhaps take just a couple of weeks to get used to it.
Comments to the Daily Liberal’s Facebook page also showed support for the bags being phased out.
Sue Buttrey hailed it as “starting a revolution”.
“A positive change for the environment,” she said.
Woolworths and Coles on Friday said they would phase out single-use plastic bags by June 30 next year, and will instead make reusable plastic bags available for purchase at the checkout.
Woolworths announced the move first with Coles following within two hours.