In reality, we are surrounded by plastics. Discarded packaging, consumer goods, and our clothing that sheds microplastic fibres when washed.
Experts estimate that there are at least 51 trillion pieces of plastic waste in the world’s oceans!
Just looking at the number of plastics we use every day, it seems impossible to remove plastics. What we can do is to help in reducing plastic waste.
The issue with plastic is becoming a world crisis. That’s why each country is helping to reduce their plastic waste. In particular, Australia banned single-use plastics in seven out of eight states.
Australia’s Previous Plastic Bag Use
Before implementing the plastic bag ban, Australia was the world’s second-largest waste producer in the world. It was estimated that each person produces 690 kilograms of waste per year!
In Western Australia alone, there were around seven million plastic shopping bags supplied every year. That’s why Australia banned single-use plastic bags.
Just months after the ban, the consumption of plastic bags in Australia drastically dropped. When the two largest supermarkets banned single-use plastic bags, they cut over 80% of plastic bag use in just three months!
The Issue With Single-Use Plastic Bags
While plastic bags only take up a small portion of solid waste, the problem is they don’t break down and can impact birds and marine wildlife. Birds and wildlife mistake plastic bags for food, when in fact it’s a deadly waste and toxic for their health.
In the Antarctic Ocean alone, it has been estimated that there are 300 million plastic bags waste every year. It’s not just Australia’s problem, it’s a global crisis as well.
Plastic bags are a source of dioxin and other pollutants in the ocean. It affects the marine’s habitats and contributes to the pollution of our food chain. Animals get tangled upon them and end up eating them.
Each year, thousands of animals are killed after ingesting plastic litter or getting tangled in it.
Australia on Phasing Out Single-Use Plastic Bags
Australia produces an estimate of 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste every year where 84% of the waste is to landfills. This means 130,000 tonnes of plastic waste are leaking into the environment each year.
By 2025, single-use will be phased out in Australia. The ultimate goal is to use recyclable, reusable, and compostable packaging by 2025.
The phase-out will ban eight types of problematic plastic wastes such as:
- Plastic labelled as “degradable”
- Lightweight plastic bags
- Plastic straws
- Polystyrene food containers
- Consumer goods packaging
Polystyrene food containers and consumer goods packaging will also be banned by December 2022.
Due to everyone’s cooperation and commitment, Australia is one step closer to phasing out plastic bags nationwide! Gradually reducing plastic wastes will have a positive effect on the environment and animals around the world.
However, plastic is still abundant and widely used everywhere. And what you can do to help in reducing wastes is to properly segregate your trash by practising the three R’s—reuse, reduce, and recycle.
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