plasticbag-turtle-webQueensland Councils have given unanimous support for the State Government to investigate ways to reduce the use and disposal of single use plastic bags in Queensland.

A motion by Livingston Shire Council received unanimous support at the LGAQ Conference in Mackay this week. The motion sought to have the State Government investigate, as part of its development process for the Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy for Queensland the costs, benefits and implications of the current use and disposal of plastic bags, including options to address identified issues and that the community has the opportunity to provide input into this process.“Thanks to the support of the LGAQ, we are confident that Queenslanders will soon be provided with the opportunity to have their say on whether Queensland should bring in a ban on single use plastic bags”, said Toby Hutcheon, Executive Director Queensland Conservation.

“The ball is now in the State Governments court. Its time for a public discussion paper on how Queensland can remove the scourge of plastic bags and other plastic litter.”

“Queensland is now Australia’s most littered state with plastic litter being the No. 1 problem (National Litter Index 2013-14) . http://kab.org.au/litter-research/national-litter-index-2/

The recently released national marine debris research project http://qldconservation.org.au/by-2050-95-of-seabirds-will-have-plastic-in-their-gut/ identified that Queensland has the highest level of plastic litter in Australia with more than 40,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre in some areas. The research also found that by 2050, 95% of sea birds will have plastic in their gut”.

Information available through Queensland Conservations Plastic Bag Free Queensland campaign http://qldconservation.org.au/plastic-bag-free-queensland/ says that it is estimated that it costs governments, businesses and community groups over $4 million per annum to clean up littered plastic shopping bags.   Plastic bags can be returned to the supermarket for recycling but only 3% are currently recycled. The rest go to landfill or are released into the environment.

With bans on single use plastic bags in effect in South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, ACT and many cities, states and countries around the world, Queensland Conservation welcome’s the opportunity for discussion to commence on this issue in Queensland.