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 Professor urges supermarket bag boycott 

Professor urges supermarket bag boycott

10 Jan, 2012 04:00 AM
A polymer expert has urged Canberrans to boycott plastic bags sold at supermarket checkouts and instead buy compostable bags and bin liners.

Professor of chemistry at the Australian National University Michelle Coote said the bags sold by Coles and Woolworths in response to an ACT Government ban on plastic bags thinner than 35 microns would never really breakdown, but rather just break into smaller and smaller pieces.

''If it's exactly the same plastic, then the thicker it is then the longer it will take to break down,'' she said.

But some Canberrans are using the 15c bags as bin liners. Janeen Williams, of Forrest, said she has not resorted to purchasing bin liners since plastic bags were banned from Canberra supermarkets, but she will have to in the near future.

''I have found the bags on sale for 15c work well as a liner as I have small bins in my apartment,'' Mrs Williams said.

The grandmother and her daughter, Felicity Williams Dowden, who lives in Lyneham, said they both remembered their ''green'' bags most of the time, and Ms Williams Dowden is adamant the ban is a positive step for Canberra.

''It is absolutely a great move - we always carry our recyclable bags now,'' she said.

Almost 600 people responded to a Canberra Times online poll yesterday that asked, ''Have you been buying more bin liners since the plastic bag ban came into effect?''

Just over 65per cent said yes with 34per cent responding no.

About 64 million plastic bags were sent to ACT landfill last year and Professor Coote said Canberrans should switch to biodegradable bags and bin liners.

''[Some bags] are designed to be compostable and in the presence of water will do a process called hydrolysis and turn back into fairly harmless things,'' she said.

But Coles' head of communications, Jon Church said the company had no plans to introduce biodegradable bags in its stores because of the poor quality of materials currently available.

''We believe the reusable bags are a better option for customers to take their shopping home in,'' Mr Church said.

Similarly, a spokeswoman from Woolworths said the company had no plans to introduce biodegradable bags.

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As we look at another case of failed social engineering, can I suggest we bring back the bags and note we will look to phase them out when technology is able to meet our requirements.

Posted by False Premise, 10/01/2012 7:27:16 AM, on The Canberra Times
If this grandmother wants to buy her own shopping bags, nobody is forcing her not to buy expensive recyclable bags! It may be a positive step for her, but it sure as hell isn't a positive step for a lot of other people who have to do the groceries, not to mention shopping centre management and staff who have to deal with this farce!!

As for your greenie editorial, it is not a "TINY" inconvenience as each day's shopping, over the long run, adds up!! It has nothing to do with saving the environment!! Wake up!! — thicker, expensive bags are NOT better for the environment!!

Posted by Mr Gillespie, 10/01/2012 8:03:01 AM, on The Canberra Times
Are where are all these wonderful green bags going to end up eventually- in land fill! What is wrong with biodegrable pastic bags instead. All it is has done is made shopping an even bigger hassle and put more money in the greedy hands of the supermarkets.
Posted by Marie, 10/01/2012 8:12:17 AM, on The Canberra Times
I have seen grey biodegradable platics bags given out by IGA and a shop at the Belconnen market long before the plastic bag ban and thought how wonderful, looked forward to it being used by the big supermarkets which never happened. So for the giants to say there there are no suitable options currently available is a little suspicious, and I can't help but feel it is down to maximizing profits. The ban puts consumer out of pocket and convenience but the stores have just been given a wonderful opportunity to cut costs and earn huge profits from the sale of green and platics bags.
Posted by M@61, 10/01/2012 8:28:16 AM, on The Canberra Times
No, no, no, don't let people with actual credentials and facts comment on this important subject!

Haven't you realised this has nothing to do with real life or facts - it's all about appearances, and conscience appeasement!

Posted by JRC, 10/01/2012 8:33:46 AM, on The Canberra Times
Why the obsession with lining bins? It isn't difficult to sort waste and have a dry bin that needs no lining. And a habit of taking your own bags for shopping isn't that hard to form. People need to catch up with what we are doing to this planet if we want to survive as a species.
Posted by Paddy, 10/01/2012 8:33:55 AM, on The Canberra Times
Corbell needs to prove his statement: he said it would decrease "the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and helps people to continue to reduce our impact on the environment."
Posted by Enviro-tired, 10/01/2012 8:40:40 AM, on The Canberra Times
I'm totally confused!
Posted by Giralang resident, 10/01/2012 8:58:53 AM, on The Canberra Times
If compostable bags were ever available at the supermarket, they must have been hidden. If they are the solution, then howcome the supermarket does not provide them for free?

Posted by woppadingo, 10/01/2012 9:02:51 AM, on The Canberra Times
The only thing the Govt has really acheived by the bag ban is to shift the costs for non-biodegradable plastics to the consumer. If the Govt was serious about environmental impact it would ban non-biodegradable plastics. If people are using the thicker bags for bin liners and buying liners this is really worse for the environment then using the thinner ones.
Posted by Snad, 10/01/2012 9:19:37 AM, on The Canberra Times
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Felicity Williams Dowden with son Alexander Dowden, of Lyneham, and her mother Janeen Williams, of Forrest, carrying their reusable shopping bags. Photo: Richard Briggs
Felicity Williams Dowden with son Alexander Dowden, of Lyneham, and her mother Janeen Williams, of Forrest, carrying their reusable shopping bags. Photo: Richard Briggs

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