Do Something about ... plastic pollution

The tenth anniversary of Coles Bay going plastic bag free!

The Tasmanian town of Coles Bay is celebrating the tenth anniversary of their ban on plastic checkout bags. This week ten years ago, they were the first Australian town to ban non-biodegradable plastic checkout bags.

Ban organisers Jon Dee and Ben Kearney from the Do Something charity have been in Coles Bay to celebrate the town's environmental leadership. Over the last 10 years, the small community has reduced plastic bag usage by 2 million bags.

Since Coles Bay led the way on banning plastic bags, South Australia, the ACT and the NT have all banned single-use lightweight plastic checkout bags. After a vote backed by MPs of all parties, Tasmania is on the verge of a statewide ban.

Around Australia, many retailers no longer provide or give away free plastic checkout bags. Bunnings, Target, IKEA, Nando's, McDonald's and others are all plastic bag free at the checkout.

Some retailers have set marvellous role models. Target's reusable bag sales have raised more than $1 million for the Alannah and Madeline charity and Australia's fastest growing supermarket chain, ALDI have never given away free plastic bags at the checkout.

Despite this good news, analysis by the Do Something organisation shows that Australians have used at least 50 billion plastic checkout bags since 2002 - the year Jon Dee and Ron Clarke launched the national campaign to ban plastic bags.

"Australians embraced the green bag in great numbers, but the national ban on plastic checkout bags that was promised by our politicians never came about," said Jon Dee, the Founder and Managing Director of Do Something..

"As a result, supermarkets continue to give away far too many plastic checkout bags and marine life continues to suffer from the problem of plastic bags and other plastic debris."

Figures show that Australia's big supermarkets are still giving out billions of plastic bags every year. As a result, Dee and Kearney are calling on the Federal Government to reintroduce the once promised national phase out of plastic bags.

"The large supermarket chains need to account for the billions of plastic bags that they continue to give out," said Ben Kearney, the Tasmanian Director of Do Something.  "At the very least, these supermarkets should report publicly on how many plastic bags they buy and give out every year."

Dee and Kearney are calling on Coles, Woolworths and IGA to publicly disclose how many plastic bags they have bought over the last 5 years and to report on how they intend to reduce the billions of plastic bags that they still use every year.

"Target set a wonderful example with their ban on plastic checkout bags," said Jon Dee. "The way they banned plastic bags should be introduced on a national basis. Their charge for reusable bags has raised over a million dollars for charity and their use of biodegradable plastic checkout bags has really helped the environment."

"If we followed Target's example, our society and the environment would both benefit."


A Call For Leadership

Regardless of who is in Government over the coming years, it's time for Australia to once again lead the way internationally on reducing plastic bag use."

"John Howard's Government did a great job in beginning the phase-out of single-use plastic checkout bags, but despite promising to do so, the Rudd Government failed to implement the ban," said Jon Dee.

"Today our supermarkets are once again throwing plastic bags at us for the smallest of items and that needs to stop. We need to see leadership again."



29th May 2015


Volunteer in your pyjamas!
How 'virtual volunteers' are changing the face of volunteering
Think of volunteering and you picture people delivering Meals on Wheels or helping out in a charity op shop. But in today's busy world, you'll also see volunteers in their pyjamas!
More and more people are starting to volunteer their time online or on the phone. It's called 'virtual volunteering' and you can participate any time, day or night. It's been popular for some time in other parts of the world, but is only now starting to take off in Australia.
With today's International Volunteer Day (Dec 5th), the charity DoSomething are calling on busy Australians to think about becoming a virtual volunteer. Their website is now listing virtual volunteering opportunties. View the media release to see what you can do or visit:

Leading charity op shops encourage Australians to 'Op Till You Drop!' for this year's National Op Shop Week


National Op Shop Week 2015 will take place from Sunday 23rd - 30th August 2015. Please put the date in your diaries!


Red Cross, Salvos Stores and Vinnies are just some of the leading charity op shops involved in this year's Op Shop Week. This is the fourth National Op Shop Week and the campaign slogan for 2015 is 'Op Till You Drop!'.


To find locations for charity op shops in your local area, please visit - over 2,000 charity op shops are listed on this site!



21st May 2015

Free book shows small to medium-sized businesses how to cut their energy bills by 10-60%.


Australians spend more on energy than many of us realise. In 2012 we spent $9 billion on air-conditioning-related energy bills and nearly $5 billion on refrigeration-related energy costs. We're also spending tens of billions of dollars 1 on fuel products

Read more about the recent project launch of here.




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