Two Big Problem items for 2023

The Boomerang Alliance has called on all Australian governments to introduce new policies to stop the greenwashed heavier weight shopping bags and end disposable coffee cups with lids. These are the two items we hear most about from supporters and the general public. Five jurisdictions have bans or announced intentions on these two items to date.

Reusable Shopping Bags

We are proposing the adoption of a reusable shopping bag standard based upon a Californian approach, also widely used in Europe. All retailers from 2024 would only be allowed to provide and sell bags to customers that meet this standard (stopping the current proliferation of bags slightly thicker than the banned ones with REUSABLE emblazoned on them).

To be reusable, a bag should be independently tested against a 125 shopping cycle requirement, labelled as reusable, be strong and durable with industrially stitched handles, a minimum thickness (we recommend 100 microns), have minimum 80% recycled content; and priced to encourage habitual use. Bags need to be collected at end of life for recycling by retail outlets.

Coffee Cups and Lids

Disposable coffee cups and lids, whatever they are made of, are not collected and recovered. They are littered or landfilled. It is a most obvious takeaway item where reusable/BYO alternatives can become common place.

We want all state/territory governments to set a national goal to phase-out all single-use coffee cups and lids by 2030 with these being replaced by reusable cups instead.

To achieve this all cafes and food outlets who offer takeaway tea and coffee should also offer or sell reusable cups and lids. We have called for a levy on all disposable cups and lids. The combination of available reusables with a levy on disposables should be an effective incentive. Many European countries are introducing reusables or levies on disposable cups now, so the precedent for these policies exists.

After 2024 no plastic takeaway coffee cups/lids would be allowed and only non-plastic or home compostable items after 2026, with a complete phase out by 2030.

In September the Boomerang Alliance, Clean Up Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society asked supporters what they thought of these ideas.

% Total % Total % Total
Should all cafes and restaurants that sell hot beverages be required to also offer or sell reusable cups and lids? 89.35% 4825 10.54% 569 0.11 6
Should single-use cups and lids be banned at major events like festival and sports events? 87.70% 4736 11.96% 646 0.34% 18
Should a levy (eg. 25 cents) on all single use disposable cups and lids be introduced? 81.94% 4425 17.61% 951 0.45% 24
Would you support a refund scheme (similar to containers) for reusable coffee cups and lids? 86.22% 4656 13.28% 717 0.50% 27
Should all single-use disposable coffee cups and lids be banned in the future? 89.5% 4833 9.96% 538 0.54% 29


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