Victoria conducted a four-week plastic bag levy trial in three towns last year, resulting in a 79% drop in consumption over that period, says Sustainability Victoria.
A voluntary 10c charge was placed on plastic checkout bags from Coles, Bi-Lo, Safeway and IGA in Warrnambool, Wangaratta and in and around Fountain Gate.
More than $35,000 was raised, with the money going to local environmental projects.
According to a government-commissioned KPMG report into the trial results, 86% of consumers supported moves to reduce plastic bag use and 60% were happy to take part, believing they were helping a “good cause”. But 13% expressed concerns at the cost of the bags.
A report from the steering committee delivered to the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Gavin Jennings, made some important recommendations for future trials or permanent levies.
“These include the duration of the trial in affecting long-term behaviour change, the potential impact on retailers and retailer employees, the impacts on service delivery, wider issues of community education on plastic bags and alternatives and information to bin liners,” the report says.
Following the trial results, state and territory environment ministers agreed that Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory would develop a proposal for a national approach which builds on the voluntary efforts of supermarkets and the actions of various jurisdictions to reduce plastic bag usage this year.