Many Australian consumers are concerned at the environmental impact of their shopping habits, especially at Christmas.
Australians spent $400 million on unwanted Christmas gifts last year. There must be a better way.
Ever wondered where the 5p you pay for plastic bags in the UK goes?
One use and done? Not always.
Many communities are banning single-use plastic shopping bags to reduce pollution, but a study in California shows that some consumers responded by purchasing more heavy plastic trash bags.
Plastic pollution on a beach on Bali, Indonesia.
Asian countries have become a dumping ground for the plastic waste from wealthy countries.
Buying reusable bags every time you shop is worse than just using plastic.
Offering free lightweight plastic bags causes excessive plastic use, while banning lightweight bags can increase the use of heavier plastic bags (such as bin liners). Coles’ decision brings out the worst of both worlds.
Providing thicker plastic bags for free is worse than pointless. It encourages the same wasteful habits, but with more damaging material.
Is forgetting your bags really such an inconvenience?
AAP Image/Peter Rae
Meet the 'Yeah-buts' - those who know plastic is bad for the environment, but can't get behind the bag ban because it affects their own convenience. This mindset can stall the best-laid green plans.
There was an implicit financial exchange between parties.
The strong reaction to plastic bag bans is because consumers feel supermarkets violated an unspoken agreement.
Single-use plastics are convenient, but it’s time to phase them out.
Photo by Sander Wehkamp/Unsplash
How do you help a country get over plastic? By creating awareness and minor inconveniences and by providing lots of reminders.
Plastic debris strewn across a beach.
We're drowning in plastics. With governments setting un-ambitious targets, corporations are now listening to consumers who are demanding less plastic packaging and food containers.
Positive messaging wins the day.
AAP Image/Dallas Kilponen
Plastic bags will soon be gone from major supermarkets and many other shops too. Campaigns to reduce plastic even more should focus on positive advice, rather than shaming shoppers for their plastic use.
A plastic bag floats in the ocean in this 2016 photo.
Banning plastic bags in food distribution is complicated and not all municipalities are on board. Are bioplastics a solution?
Pointing in the wrong direction.
A scheme in Wales to introduce personal carbon accounts could point the way to reduce emissions.
Taxing plastic takeaway boxes will help to reduce the massive amount of plastic which is dumped into the oceans.
Plastic pollution: discarded plastic bags are a hazard to marine life.
Tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year, but a switch away from petroleum-based products to bio-derived and degradable composites could lessen marine pollution.
The Victorian government has a new proposal to ban plastic bags. What is it missing?
Victoria's proposed ban on single-use plastic bags is a step forward, but what about all the other unnecessary packaging? A truly effective waste policy should offer a comprehensive plan for packaging.
Plastic trash on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.
A new study shows that anchovies – key food for larger fish – are attracted to plastic trash because it smells like food. This suggests that toxic substances in plastic could move up through food chains.
What will we do for bin liners now?
AAP Image/James Ross
Banning single-use plastic bags makes sense, as long as it doesn't usher in behaviours that are just as bad, or worse – like over-using heavier bags made of even more plastic.
Undoing shoppers’ engrained behaviours is a tricky job.
AAP Image/Julian Smith
The success of the plastic bag ban announced by Australia's big two supermarkets will hinge on whether they can persuade customers to change an engrained behaviour - without annoying them.
Selling these new bags at 15 cents each, effectively creates another revenue stream with nearly A$71 million in gross profit.
Moves by major to supermarkets to only offer plastic bags for a charge could make these businesses more than a million dollars a year, but it may only have a small impact on the environment.