More than 60 countries are attempting to cut down on environmentally hazardous plastic bags, either by making customers pay for them or banning them outright. Australia is the latest to join this growing list, but some customers are less than thrilled. NPR reported this week that the Australian states of Queensland and Western Australia, and retail chains Coles and Big W, have placed new restrictions on these bags as of July 1, and that on June 20, Woolworths said it had removed single-use plastic bags from all its stores. Plastic bags were already banned in Tasmania and South Australia.
According to Deutsche Welle, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association took a survey of 132 members, and “57 said they were abused by shoppers over the ban.” One customer even put his hands around a woman’s throat at a Woolworths. Other shoppers “vented their anger by shouting ‘money-grabbing scum’ at staff or throwing food at them.” The union has even put together an ad addressing the strong customer reactions, with a raging customer asking why he can’t have a bag getting owned by a costumed turtle and fish: “I think you know why, mate.” It’s an effective reminder of why so many countries are cutting down on plastic bag usage in the first place.