Last Saturday the Bangalow store became the first shop in the village to go 100 percent plastic bag free, leading the way in a community initiative to make Bangalow become a plastic bag free village by the end of 2009.
The Bangalow Chamber of Commerce is supporting the drive, and has provided funds to produce a sticker to go into shop windows and other prominent places to remind people why we need to break the plastic bag habit.
“The sticker was designed by Bangalow graphic artist Stephie Hosking,” said Clare Hopkins from Boomerang Bags, “and features the endangered Green Turtle, one of the sea animals at serious risk from plastic bag pollution, along with whales and dolphins”.
While to date an informal survey reveals that many Bangalow retailers have begun supplying non-plastic options and stocking reusable bags for purchase, and the Post Office will phase them out and Foodworks supermarket has reduced usage from 700 per day to 500, Bangalow Basics is the first business to outlaw them completely.
Kjeld Jakobsen took over the business late last year, and did not need a great deal of persuasion to make the courageous move.
“When I moved here I thought I wanted to do what I could to protect this beautiful environment,” he explained.
“I come from Denmark where recycling has always been natural, where you always have to pay for a plastic bag, and drink bottles are refundable.”
Australian shoppers are not used to being charged for a bag to put their purchases in, but at Bangalow Basics from now on it will be 20c for a sea-turtle-friendly paper bag if they have forgotten to bring their own.
“I think what he is doing is really brave,” said Clare, “taking the initiative to charge for paper bags.”
Boomerang Bags, the group formed by Clare and her friend Jo Immig, has made and given away over 1000 recycled fabric bags in their quest to raise awareness and create a plastic bag free village, and it is part of a global project aimed at banning plastic bags worldwide.
“All businesses need support and encouragement to make the transition,” said Clare, “and the community has a responsibility to bring their own bags whenever they can – we all have to work together to make this happen.”
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