The tiny Tasmanian town that a decade ago banned plastic checkout bags has now set its sights higher, calling on the federal government to fulfil a promise to ban the bags nationwide.
With a population of less than 300, Coles Bay is one of Tasmania's most popular holiday spots, and in 2003 it became the first Australian town to completely ban non-biodegradable plastic checkout bags.
The small community has reduced its plastic bag usage by 2 million bags, but non-profit organisation DoSomething! says that over the last decade, Australians have used at least 50 billion plastic checkout bags across the country.
"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, founder and managing director of DoSomething!.
"As a result, supermarkets continue to give away far too many plastic checkout bags and marine life continues to suffer."
DoSomething! says large supermarket chains need to account for the billions of plastic bags that they give out, and is calling on Coles, Woolworths and IGA to publicly disclose how many plastic bags they have bought over the last five years and report on how they intend to reduce the use of bags.
"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 (Labor) government failed to implement the ban," said Mr Dee.
He said leadership was again needed.
What do you think? Do you support a ban on plastic bags?