Climate Desk This story was originally published by the HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Australia’s two largest supermarket chains made waves earlier this year when they announced plans to ban single-use plastic bags in stores across the country. Environmentalists hailed the move, which according to new figures released this month, may have saved more than 1.5 billion bags from going into overstuffed kitchen drawers or landfills in less than six months. The National Retail Association , a nonprofit group that represents the grocery industry, said in early December the entire country has seen an astonishing 80 percent drop in single-use plastic bags since Coles and Woolworths implemented the bans in July. The two supermarkets, which together own more than 60 percent of the grocery market in Australia, have each said they’ve kept more than 700 million plastic bags out of circulation this year. But despite the good news, the proposal didn’t happen without some controversy. Angry shoppers prompted outbursts in checkout lines in several Coles stores and the supermarket giant backflipped just weeks after implementing its ban amid vehement complaints. Coles stores quickly said they would provide heavier-duty, reusable bags for free […]

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