Woolworths Supermarket. Image: Anystock Shutterstock

New regulations in different states have prevented an estimated 1.5 billion bags from ending up in the wild or at best in a landfill.

According to The world matters, around five billion plastic bags are used each year around the world. That means 160,000 plastic bags per second on the planet. Reflecting on this chaotic scenario, Australia decided to do something.

Over the summer, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains – Woolworths and Coles – announced a ban on single-use plastics in their stores in the Australian states of Queensland and Western Australia. Although the ban was initially greeted with great outrage by customers, this small change has generated a nice reward: the country has seen an 80% reduction in the total consumption of plastic bags in its territory, in just three months since the measurement.

According to the National Retail Association of Australia, the new standard keeps around 1.5 billion plastic bags out of the environment. The initiative will not only help reduce air pollution by reducing the use of petroleum, but will also primarily help tackle pollution of the ocean, rivers and land. It should be noted that plastic bags are among the 12 most frequently found items when cleaning shorelines.

“In fact, some retailers are reporting discount rates of up to 90%,” said David Stout of the National Retailers Association. Stout hopes the Australian government will follow the lead of supermarkets and agree to a nationwide ban. So far, all states except New South Wales have legislated to phase out disposable plastic bags. He says the supermarket decision has already paved the way for small businesses, which typically can’t risk customers reacting to changes like these, to do the same. “

“For businesses, for the environment, for the consumer, and of course even for the municipalities that have to work to remove these bags from landfills, there are a multitude of benefits to doing so,” he said. .

Image: Anystock Shutterstock

Around the world, at least 32 countries – 18 in Africa – have banned plastic bags, according to ReuseThisBag. In June, Chile became the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags. California and Hawaii are the only states in the US to ban plastic bags.