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# Australia's Annual Carrier Bag Use

How many carrier bags are used in Australia each year?

Estimate the number of carrier bags used per person per week (or indeed by you per week) and multiply up to find the corresponding value per year for Australia.

6.9 Billion = 6,900,000,000

(Australia's Minister for Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp.)

Assume:

1) Population of Australia is 20 million (It's actually a little bit less)

2) Average no. of carrier bags used per person is 6 per week. (This is clearly a guess, but not unreasonable: four for food and two for clothes and other purchases. (Note that I have estimated the no. used per week. It is far easier to guess the number per week and multiply up than to guess the number used per year)

Therefore,

Annual use of carrier bags in Australia =

Population of Australia * No. of carrier bags used per person per weeks * number of weeks in a year

= 20 million * 6 * 52

= ~ 6,000,000,000  = 6 Billion

My answer is a little below the actual figure of 6.9 billion which corresponds to a figure for no. of carrier bags used per person per week of about 7 (or 350 per year).

Note: It seems that Australia's per person usage of carrier bags is high. In the UK each person only uses 134 per year (or 2.5 a week) and in Ireland 140 per year (although this is been recently reduced due to the introduction of a carrier bag tax.)

To see a range of stories on the environmental issues surrounding carrier bags including the recent introduction of disposable carrier bags visit the Environmental Data Interactive Exchange.