Australians use about 3.9 billion plastic bags each year. Plastic bags have a range of environmental impacts and even though they are made from oil (a non-renewable resource) the majority are thrown away within minutes. They take hundreds of years to break down and NEVER truly decompose, resulting in litter, gradually breaking down into tiny flakes which stay in our soils and waterways.
Communities are very concerned about their impact on sea life – floating bags can strangle marine animals, or be mistaken for food and eaten by creatures such as turtles, whales, dolphins and birds.
Did you know?
- Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down
- In 2007, Australians used four billion plastic bags. That’s over 10 million per day or 200 per person per year
- 75% of plastic bags are sent to landfill after a single use
- Approximately 30 to 50 million plastic bags end up as litter on our beaches, streets and parks
- University of Queensland research has found that 30% of turtle deaths in Moreton Bay is caused by the ingestion of plastic debris
Go Plastic Bag Free!
- The best thing you can do to tackle this problem is to use reusable bags or a backpack to carry your shopping! For information on the types of plastic bags and their associated issues, see Plastic Bag Free NSW’s great infographic.
- Instead of putting your household rubbish in plastic bags, put dry or clean items, like plastic wrapping, straight into your bin. For wet or smelly items use old bread bags, the bags from inside cereal boxes or a sheet of newspaper
- Reuse any plastic bags that you do have. Damaged plastic bags can be recycled through plastic bag recycling collection bins at some major supermarkets
- Don’t put plastic bags in your kerbside recycling yellow bin, as they can damage the machinery in recycling facilities
- Spread the word and encourage friends and family and your community to go plastic bag free.
Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags – community made using recycled materials, Boomerang Bags provide a free, fun, sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
There are lots of Boomerang Bag groups in the MIDWASTE region, http://www.boomerangbags.org/be-involved/ ) to find them and get involved!