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August 10, 2010


NT moves to ban plastic bags

Plastic bags will be banned in the Northern Territory from mid next year, making it only the second jurisdiction in Australia to turn to reusable green bags.

Shops will be prohibited from selling or giving away non-biodegradable lightweight plastic bags, NT Environment minister Karl Hampton announced on Tuesday.

"Every year nearly 40 million single-use plastic bags are used in the Territory which creates landfill, litter and kills our wildlife," Mr Hampton said in a statement.

"We have already spoken extensively with peak industry bodies and unions and believe that shoppers and retailers will embrace these changes that will make a big difference to the environment."

Once the legislation is passed, plastic bags will be phased out over a four-month period.

Mr Hampton said the NT would become the second jurisdiction in Australia, behind South Australia, to ban plastic bags.

"Green bags can be re-used many times, generate a fraction of the greenhouse gases in production and rarely end up in our waterways and harbour as litter," he said.

"Biodegradable or compostable bags also significantly reduce environmental litter and the dangers to our delicate wildlife."

The ban forms part of the NT government's plan to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 50 per cent by 2020.

Earlier this year, Mr Hampton announced the NT would follow SA's lead and become the second state or territory to introduce a container deposit scheme, where people get paid 10 cents for every plastic, aluminium or glass container they recycle.

Legislation for both schemes will go before the NT parliament in November.


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