Bipartisan support for NSW plastic bag ban

A FAMOUS scene from American Beauty shows footage of a plastic bag dancing on the wind, shot by a creepy drug dealing bloke with a troubling obsession for his camcorder.

"Do you want to see the most beautiful thing I've ever filmed?" he asks.

"Yesterday I realised that there was this entire life behind things.

"And this incredibly benevolent force wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid."

Unless you are a sea turtle.

A touching piece of cinematography, to be sure, but it belies an ugly truth about its subject - one our state's parliament is edging towards fixing.

Plastic bags on the wind might be amply dazzling to serve as the defining moment in an Academy Award-winning film, but the splendorous facade is shattered once they hit landfill and the ocean.

Now politicians from both sides of NSW politics have backed a call to ban single-use plastic bags.

Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith said the move had his full support as he tabled a petition with more than 12,400 signatures calling for the ban.

"In 2008 I visited Coles Bay, Tasmania, which was the first town in Australia to ban single-use plastic bags," he said.

"As my partner and I were driving there, I felt some trepidation.

"The thought of doing without the essential plastic bag made me feel as though I had boarded a long-haul flight without my Nicorette patches.

"But the reality was that we spent a couple of days in Coles Bay and did not even notice the absence of plastic bags, which is why a ban on single-use plastic bags is a no-brainer."

Labor's Jodie Harrison said South Australia had phased out the bags over three years, and that NSW should follow suit.

"The Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory followed in 2011," she said.

"Tasmania joined the ban in 2013.

"It is good to hear that the new Queensland Government is also considering a ban on single-use plastic bags in that state, where rates of discarded rubbish are 40% above the national average.

"Western Australia is the only state heading in the opposite direction."

The proposal remains in the discussion phase but it is a step in the right direction for proponents of the bag ban.

NSW has already banned the purposeful release of helium balloons at weddings and parties.

So budding young filmmakers may soon have to rely on footage of trusty old kites for their airborne home movies.

Or, you know, birds or something.


Australians throw out about four billion plastic bags every year, adding up to 20,700 tonnes of plastic that could be recycled

Plastic bags can be returned to supermarkets for recycling, but only 3% are ever recycled

The energy consumed in the lifecycle of a single plastic bag is estimated to be equivalent to about a teaspoon of crude oil


Topics:  ban editors picks environment law litter nsw politics parliament plastic bags pollution recycling rubbish

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