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Plastic bag ban anger amplifies

Luke Grant

Frustration around the single-use plastic bag ban has intensified once again.

Many are saying the clampdown is nothing more than a profitable line of corporate virtue signalling, after reports suggested supermarkets are set to profit by some $71 million from the 15 cent reusable bags.

Supermarket duopolies Woolworths and Coles may also reportedly save some $170 million by ceasing their distribution of the free plastic bags according to the Daily Telegraph, who relayed the numbers crunched by Professor Gary Mortimer from Queensland University of Technology.

Scott Hargreaves from the Institute of Public Affairs says the ban is a case in point for how out of touch the corporate world has become.

“What we’re seeing in modern society is the managerial class, the people who call the shots, they’re so divorced from the battles of everyday people,” Hargreaves explains.

“The idea that you might just be on the way home and your partner rings and asks for you to pick up this and that from the supermarket, it is just so alien to them.”

The environmental dividend that the ban will supposedly secure has also been called into question, after a study from Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research suggested around ninety per cent of ocean plastic waste comes from Asia and Africa.

“This is a symptom of the nuisance state,” says Hargreaves.

“There is no environmental benefit, there is nothing in it for the people, only perhaps the corporations. So what is it all about? I think it is actually about the state, which enjoys the exercise of making you change your behaviour, of being a nuisance.”

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Luke Grant
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