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Australian retailers may bin use of plastic bags

Published:  23 July, 2008

Australian environment minister Peter Garrett has suggested a phase-out of the use of plastic bags in supermarkets could come into force during 2008.

"There are some 4 billion of these plastic bags floating around the place, getting into landfills, ending up affecting our wildlife, and showing up on our beaches while we are on holidays," said Garrett today.

"We think it's absolutely critical that we get cracking on it."

Earlier this week, China revealed it would be banning the production, sale and use of ultra-thin plastic bags from June.

A statement on the central government website said: "The ultra-thin bags are the main source of 'white' pollution as they can easily get broken and end up as litter."

Garrett will meet with Australian state leaders this April to discuss the issue, but it remains unresolved whether this would be achieved by an outright ban or by imposing a levy.