Adam Holdsworth from Reefworld.
Adam Holdsworth from Reefworld. Annie Perets

Plastic bag ban frustrates, but it's better for turtles

WHILE supermarkets across the Fraser Coast cop complaints from a disgruntled minority of shoppers about the nation-wide plastic bag ban, Hervey Bay Reefworld owner Greg Wolff is ready to see fewer turtles getting sick from ingesting bags.

Legislation was passed in Queensland Parliament in September last year, banning single use plastic bags, with the ban officially enforced from Sunday.

After 30 years at Reefworld, Mr Wolff has seen plenty of turtles sick from mistaking plastic bags for jelly fish.

Reefworld works with marine officers and Australia Zoo when it comes to caring for turtles, with many being sent to the zoo to recover.

Mr Wolff said x-rays were often carried out on turtles to see if they had ingested a bag.

In the water, the bags can look like jellyfish or squid, drawing the attention of turtles.

"It's got to be a positive thing when it comes to the environment, for the sake of the turtles," Mr Wolff said.

Mr Wolff said he understood some were upset about the change at the moment, but said people would get used to it.

"We do get used to it and we change our ways."

It comes as scenes of outrage have been seen at supermarkets across Australia, with Fraser Coast outlets copping their fair share.

Neil Braun, owner of Hervey Bay's IGA on Boat Harbour Drive, said getting the odd complaint was an inevitable part of the change.

But he said the reaction from customers had been mostly positive.

Tony Larner, a manager at Maryborough's Woolworths store, said the change from disposable plastic bags to reusable plastic bags had been mostly well received.

"I think it's been in the media for a long time, it hasn't come as a shock," he said.

He said while across the country there had been reports of a backlash, it was important to remember that it wasn't something businesses and supermarkets had simply decided to do - it had been legislated and the use of disposable bags was now illegal not only at grocery stores but in cafes, restaurants and other retailers.

But while there had been a negative reaction in some areas, in Maryborough there had been little negative feedback, Mr Larner said, saying it was business as usual.

He said the store had quite a few customers who had brought in their own reusable bags who were not affected by the new situation.