Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

Settlements Header ImageSettlements Header ImageSettlements Header Image

Publications archive - Waste and recycling

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Plastic Shopping Bags – Analysis of Levies and Environmental Impacts

Final Report
Prepared by Nolan-ITU in association with RMIT Centre for Design and Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd
December 2002

Excerpt from the Executive Summary

The plastic bag is an established part of Australian shopping – with approximately 6.9 billion plastic bags used by Australian consumers every year. The current plastic shopping bag is well suited to its task – it is cheap, lightweight, resource efficient, functional, moisture resistant, allows for quick packing at the supermarket and is remarkably strong for its weight. However, the perceived environmental impacts of plastic shopping bags have raised community concern.

The Commonwealth Government resolved to evaluate the likely impacts of taxes and levies on plastic bags and the potential impacts of alternatives to provide a solid base for informed debate and national policy development regarding plastic shopping bags in Australia. Nolan-ITU, in association with the RMIT Centre for Design and Eunomia Research and Consulting, has been commissioned by Environment Australia to conduct the evaluation.

The purpose of this report is to explore the options and their associated potential environmental and economic impacts to inform policy and decision making. Therefore, no specific policy recommendations are made.

Note: In September 2006, the report was revised to correct an error on page 30. The sentence:

'A figure of 100,000 marine animals killed annually has been widely quoted by environmental groups; this figure was from a study in Newfoundland which estimated the number of animals entrapped by plastic bags in that area from a four-year period from 1981-84'

Has been replaced with:

'A figure of 100,000 marine animals killed annually has been widely quoted by environmental groups; this figure was from a study in Newfoundland which estimated the number of animals entrapped by plastic debris in that area from a four-year period from 1981-84'

Download the Report

This report is available as a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view the PDF file.

If you are unable to access this document, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.