Western suburbs councils to consider plastic bag ban

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE banning of plastic shopping bags may once again be up for debate at Cottesloe, Claremont and Mosman Park councils.

“If it’s enforceable under State law and received wider support, I would think it was something the Town of Cottesloe would consider,” Cottesloe Mayor Jo Dawkins told the Western Suburbs Weekly.

Debate was reignited when City of Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard recently asked for a staff report into getting rid of the bags, after which Premier Mark McGowan indicated his support to rethink their availability at shops.

“Plastics in our waterways and in our oceans are the scourge of our Earth and dealing with that issue, even if it’s one council at a time, is a good thing to do,” Mr McGowan said.

South Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania have banned plastic bags, which go to landfill or sometimes end up in rivers and oceans, breaking down into micro-sized pollution.

Keep Australia Beautiful claims 30 million to 50 million bags end up in the environment, of the about four billion bags used by Australians each year, and take 15 to 1000 years to break down into particles that end up in the marine or terrestrial food chains.

The ACT restrictions charge 5c for a bag and is claimed to have reduced bags going to landfill by 36 per cent.

In WA, the previous state government reversed bans attempted by Fremantle Council – the last in October 2015 – but the WA Local Government Association is currently seeking councils’ views of a statewide restriction.

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said he was “sure” his council could consider the ban but thought most bags used by retailers in his shopping district were biodegradable.

However, potential hurdles to a ban include the fact that some retailers consider them a necessary customer service and that a ban in Denmark, in the Great Southern lasted just a week after adverse customer reaction last year.

“I think banning plastic bags is a no brainer,” Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said.

“My problem is that we can ban plastic shopping bags but residents will then purchase plastic waste bags to put their garbage in when it goes into their bins.”