Young Victorians and high earners are using plastic bags on their daily shop more than anyone else, research for Sustainability Victoria found.
One in 10 people over 55 rely on single-use bags for food shopping, compared to 27 per cent of Victorians aged 18-34.
Retail stores handed single-use bags to young people 54 per cent of the time.
Sustainability CEO Stan Krpan said young Victorians needed a nudge to remember to bring reusable bags.
“We think a lot of that has to do with the planning in advance of going out to the shops,” he told The New Daily.
“It’s a bit like writing a shopping list.”
High earners have also been slower with the plastic phase-out, with 57 per cent taking single-use bags for non-food items.
Men were also more likely to take single-use bags, at a rate of one in four compared to one in seven women.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio released the survey findings on Wednesday to launch the ‘Better Bag Habits’ campaign.
It calls on Victorians to remember their bag, wallet, keys and phone – to the tune of the ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ rhyme – ahead of the Labor government’s plastic bag ban rolling out late next year.
Bags thinner than 35 microns will be banned.
The survey found Victorians have been heeding the environmental message, with three-quarters of shoppers regularly bringing a reusable bag.
More than two-thirds of Victorians support the government ban.
Colmar Brunton surveyed 770 adults for Sustainability Victoria over four days in mid-August, not long after Coles and Woolworths stopped supplying free bags.
“It’s been good to see – even though it’s been a rocky road – it’s been good to see the supermarkets show some leadership in this sense,” Mr Krpan said.
He said a government ban was also needed to stop the bags ending up as rubbish.
“Because they’re so disposable, they’re so light. And we have so many of them that they actually end up in the natural environment.
“They’re ending up in our waterways, our bays. They have a big impact on marine life and we can do better than that, I think.”
Why do people use them?
The survey found 42 per cent of those taking single-use bags did so because they forgot to bring their own, while more than one-third said they made unplanned purchases.
“A couple of segments, particularly blokes and particularly young people, we’re just trying to give them a little nudge to think before you go to the shop and take those bags with you,” Mr Krpan said.
Victorians were also making use of thin plastic bags, with three-quarters using them as bin liners.
One-third of people also used them to keep shoes and dirty laundry away from clothes in their luggage, and to double-bag wet rubbish.
Thirty per cent of respondents used plastic bags for picking up pet poo or taking their lunch to work.
Comedian Sam Simmons stars in the Sustainability Victoria campaign to be played across social media and radio.
The New South Wales government is the only Australian state or territory without at least a commitment to ban single-use bags.
A federal senate inquiry in June recommended all governments phase out single-use plastics – including bags, takeaway containers, coffee cups, chip packets and straws – by 2023.
Learn more about the Better Bag Habits here.