Today marks an important day in Queensland’s war on waste, with the waste levy coming into effect and the one-year anniversary of the ban on single-use lightweight plastic bags.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said there had been at least a 70% drop in plastic bag litter since the introduction of the plastic bag ban.
“Before the ban was introduced last year, up to 16 million single use plastic shopping bags ended up in our environment every year,” Ms Enoch said.
“These have significant impacts on our environment, waterways and species. But now, thanks to our ban on single-use lightweight plastic bags, we are seeing an incredible drop.”
Minister Enoch said supermarkets, such IGA Springfield, had played an enormous role in the success of the plastic bag ban.
“In the last 12 months this store alone has taken around 364,000 single use bags out of circulation, or about 7,000 per week, which is wonderful.
“Each bag that is taken out of circulation is one less bag that can end up in the environment or wasted in landfill.”
Minister Enoch said as Queensland continues the war on waste, the Palaszczuk Government has also today released a new strategy to reduce waste, increase recycling, cut greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.
“Queensland is generating waste faster than it is growing in population, and we need to do something about this,” she said.
“The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy presents a vision for Queensland to become a zero-waste society where waste is avoided, reused and recycled as much as possible.
“To kick-start this transition, implementation of the Strategy will be underpinned by the reintroduction of a waste disposal levy, which commences today.
“We know Queenslanders want to minimise waste.
“Research shows most Queenslanders believe it is important to minimise waste going into landfill, and more than two-thirds of Queenslanders are trying to do that.
“The waste levy will help to grow the recycling and resource recovery sector – creating jobs – while reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill.
“There are more jobs in recycling than landfill, so this is a clear economic opportunity for Queensland.”
IGA Springfield store owner Terry Slaughter said they were focused on both their customers and protecting the environment.
“Our customers have adjusted well to the changes,” he said.
“Many bring their own bags and have told us they are happy to play their part.
“We have alternatives available for customers to use, including multiple-use bags provided to us by the Greater Springfield Landcare Group.”