Western Australia is set to become the next state in the country to impose a ban on the use of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags.
And the Northern Territory will also introduce new legislation this year to ban retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. The NT Government hopes to not only reduce emissions created through the production and transport of plastic bags, but to protect local wildlife from the dangers of discarded bags.
With South Australia banning non-biodegradable plastic bags in May 2009, now Western Australia is set to become the next state in the country to impose a ban on the use of plastic shopping bags. Western Australia uses 400 million plastic shopping bags each year out of which mere 3% is recycled and rest end up in the environment or in landfill.
Biodegradable plastic bags can be made from many different sources and materials, such as:
- Polyesters (Bacteria based polymers) - Polyesters manufactured from hydrocarbons (oil or gas). All polyesters degrade eventually, with degradation rates ranging from weeks for aliphatic polyesters (e.g. polyhydroxyalkanoates). Bacteria are an additional treatment used to create a different type of biodegradable polymer.
- Starch based polymers: Thermoplastic starch based polymers made with at least 90% starch from renewable resources such as corn, potato, tapioca or wheat.
- Starch or Polyester blends: Mixed with thermoplastic starch with polyesters made from hydrocarbons.