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‘It’s utterly absurd’: Rita Panahi unleashes on plastic bag ban

Luke Grant
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Supermarket giants are continuing to attract criticism for their clampdown on single-use plastic bags.

After Woolworths banned the bags nationwide last week, Coles has confirmed they are set to follow suit on July 1.

Rita Panahi says this kind of “profitable line of corporate virtue signalling” is “utterly absurd.”

“Australia doesn’t dump their plastic bags into waterways. The most comprehensive study done into plastic pollution shows that Australia contributes 10 kilograms a year,” Panahi says.

“This isn’t good, but when you talk about the tonnes and tonnes that some other nations are contributing, the bulk of plastic in the ocean comes from five countries. This is led by China, Indonesia is up there, so is the Philippines.”

“Do you really think a plastic bag ban in Australia is going to change habits in China? It’s just idiotic.”

Supermarket chains may have shot at the wrong target when it comes to eliminating excess litter, according to Panahi, who says banning plastics will pay little environmental dividends.

“They actually contribute just a little under 1% of total rubbish in Australia, according to the latest litter index. Most of the litter is cigarette-related. If you really want to tackle littering in Australia, that is where your focus should be.”

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Luke Grant