Australia's new climate-friendly federal government has upped the pressure on retailers, promising to take measures to completely "phase out" the use of plastic bags by the end of the year. See this news coverage for details.
Peter Garrett, Australia's federal environment minister, Peter Garrett (International Herald Trib photo), said: "I think most people would like to see them rid. We think it's absolutely critical that we get cracking on it. We'd like to see a phase-out implemented by 2008."
A voluntary program approved by the former Howard government cut plastic bag use in major stores by 50%.
(Does Peter Garrett look familiar? He's the former lead singer with protest rockers Midnight Oil and ex-head of the Australian Conservation Foundation.)