The Government has coughed up $40 million to convert plastic waste into new products but Greenpeace says we should be trying to tackle waste at the source.
Oceans campaigner Jessica Desmond is calling for a tax on problematic plastics, saying we need to talk about why so much mess is being made in the first place.
Desmond's comments come after a ban on most single-use plastic bags came into force on Monday.
"We would love to see all non-essential plastic bags banned outright," she told The AM Show on Tuesday.
"We want to see a similar kind of investment happening to stop the plastic waste to start with."
Desmond said it wants corporations to be held responsible for the plastic waste they produce.
ACT leader David Seymour said his party would repeal the plastic bag ban and instead introduce a clean up levy.
"The ban could actually produce worse environmental outcomes as people substitute towards heavier bags which need to be used dozens or hundreds of times in order to have less environmental impact."
Desmond told The AM Show we need to make plastic less appealing and less convenient to use.
"I think that there should be regulations," she said.
The AM Show host Duncan Garner said "we used to be greener back in the '70s when I was a kid", citing milk in glass bottles while used beer bottles were returned.
"Fizzy drink was also in glass," host Mark Richardson added.
Desmond said those aspects show we are capable of living that way.
"We were happy living like that," she said. "We just need the Government to take the action that's required to get us there."