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Charging shoppers for supermarket plastic bags is not the best way to encourage responsible usage, says the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA).

With results from a recent ANRA survey showing 93 percent of consumers reuse and recycle supermarket bags, governments need to rethink plans to charge a tax on the bags says Margy Osmond, CEO of ANRA. “Shoppers have clearly embraced the efforts of major retailers, governments and environmental groups to think about the way they use their bags.”

With the survey showing lower recycling and reusing behaviour at fresh food stores (75 percent), department, clothing and variety stores (73 percent) and takeaway outlets (36 percent), Osmond says supermarkets should not be forced to play the bad guy and charge for plastic bags. “Governments are looking at regulation and only looking at regulating major supermarkets. They should be focusing their efforts on educating and encouraging consumers to treat plastic bags from other types of retailers in the same responsible way they now treat supermarket bags.”

Imposing tax on consumers is not justifiable Osmond claims. “Quite frankly it is an outrageous and short sighted response to the need for more effective education and support for consumers and the wider business community.”

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