Australian shoppers may pay a 2-cent levy on plastic shopping bags, given away free at supermarkets and retail outlets, under a new environmental plan proposed by a political party, the Australian Democrats. Although the Australian Demo-crats are a minority party, with the Greens and independent senators they hold the balance of power in the Senate in Australia's Federal Parliament.
The proposed levy on shopping bags and grocery sacks would be enforced at point of sale in an attempt to reduce their use.
Australians use an estimated 3.6 million high density polyethylene shopping bags a year, according to research conducted by the Plastics and Chemical Industries' Association.
Party leader Sen. Cheryl Kernot proposed the levy as part of a package of environment policies for this year's March 3 federal election.
She said the levy had strong public support, and had sparked widespread debate on shopping bags and recycling schemes.
Chris Baker, PACIA's plastics environment manager, said a levy would not reduce plastic bag use.