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Publications archive - Waste and recycling


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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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 check-out bag use in non-supermarket retail outlets

Planet Ark Environmental Foundation for the
Department of the Environment and Heritage, March 2005

The survey – Key results: 4

The study will establish an overview of plastic bag distribution in Australia at a national, state and local level. It will attempt to gauge the industry’s perception about plastic bag alternatives and to see if they are stocking alternatives such as ‘Green’ bags, calico and paper bags.



From our research, we found there was up to a thousand plastic bag distributors ranging from very small local level distributors to distributors that have networks right across Australia.

Given the time constraints of this report, Planet Ark identified key distributors for this survey to give us a brief overview of how this industry works.

We chose the surveyed distributors based on the wide range of their annual turnovers and their representation in differing retail networks. As such, this survey has enabled us to present a keyhole view into the distribution industry.

All distributors who responded to this survey stated that they primarily stocked plastic bags because of retailer demand and their low unit cost. However, it is encouraging to report that all distributors surveyed stock plastic bag alternatives.

The fact that all distributors surveyed stock well-priced plastic bag alternatives reveals that the onus of plastic bag reduction in the non-supermarket retailer sector lies with the retailers themselves.