Businesses have welcomed new legislation that will see single-use plastic shopping bags banned across Victoria, effective November 1.
The new laws, introduced to parliament earlier week, will see all plastic shopping bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less banned, including bags made from degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic.
Warrnambool Bargain Buys staff welcomed the news and have already taken active steps to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic shopping bags.
"We've already been putting quite a bit in place ever since the supermarkets have made changes, our head office still supplies us shopping bags but we have lots of alternative bags that people can buy in store," store manager Niki Lockett said.
"We don't offer a bag, we presume that people have their own bags, but some people ask and of course we give them a bag.
"I don't know whether it will be dramatic for anybody, I think everyone's okay with it. That's the feedback we've been getting from people."
In the instance that someone asks for a bag, Bargain Buys offer their larger bags that can double as a bin liner.
"We offer a jumbo bag because it's our strongest bag and we suggest they use it home as a bin liner," Ms Lockett said.
"For some businesses like this, being a discount variety store, it might eat into the profit a little bit because paper bags with strength and handles are a little bit pricey and that's why I think some supermarkets aren't providing them free.
"But I don't think our customers will be too shocked when it all happens. Especially the younger generations, kids never ask for a bag which is fantastic.
"It might be a shock for some but it's all about a steady transition."
Steven Wei owns and runs the Sushi and Noodle Canteen on Lava Street and is looking forward to exploring more sustainable options in his business.
"I need to check out my options and find out the price of paper bags," he said.
Plastic bags stay around forever - for my child and their child's lifetime - paper bags are much better.Steven Wei, Sushi and Noodle Canteen
"Plastic bags stay around forever - for my child and their child's lifetime - paper bags are much better.
"I saw the announcement on the news and I think it's good news."
The ban will apply to bags being provided at retail outlets including supermarkets, fashion boutiques, fast food outlets, convenience stores and service stations.
Bags that will not be banned:
- Barrier bags for fruit, vegetables, meat and fish
- Garbage bags and bin liners
- Animal waste bags
A plastic pollution action plan is also under development to help reduce other types of plastic pollution, in collaboration with industry, retailers and community environment groups
"Plastic pollution is a significant environmental problem - the actions we take now will help ensure Victoria has a clean and bright future," Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D'Ambrosio said.
"The feedback on this one was clear. Victorians want to do more to protect the environment from the damage litter causes and are overwhelmingly supportive of banning single-use plastic shopping bags.
"We've been working closely with businesses to plan for the ban ahead of November and we'll continue to look at ways we can reduce other types of plastic pollution across Victoria."
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