CONSUMERS will have the opportunity to keep plastic bags away from landfill from Tuesday as part of Plastic Free July.
The Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange will sell reusable bags from the Agrestic Grocer for the duration of July and the monthly farmers’ markets, specifically targeting small bags used for fruit and vegetables.
The small mesh bags are capable of carrying up to a kilogram of fruit or vegetables, gathering with a drawstring.
ECCO publicity officer and Orange councillor Neil Jones said, while reusable bags were available for groceries, plastic bags for fruit and vegetables had been a necessary evil until now.
“It’s difficult at the checkout if you’ve potatoes rolling around all over the place, it’s not convenient,” he said.
“That’s why it’s important to provide the consumer with an alternative. This bag can be used over and over again.”
Agrestic Grocer co-owner Lucas Martin said the business already offered paper bags for goods and discounts if consumers brought their own containers for products.
He said it was important for businesses to lead the way.
“It boils down to a simple equation, we have a limited amount of resources at our disposal and, especially, businesses have a responsibility to manage that,” he said.
In addition to the burden on landfill, plastic bags are dangerous for marine life and even biodegradable single-use bags create greenhouse gases when they break down.
Cr Jones said ECCO hoped to address the Orange Business Chamber to gather more support and eventually sell the reusable bags from Orange’s shopping centres.
“We’re not going to be able to influence the Coles and Woolworths of the world, but we can get the smaller retailers on board,” he said.
“In South Australia, there’s no plastic bags and Canberra’s the same. Other states have recognised this so we’ve just got to keep plugging away.”
For more information on Plastic Free July, visit plasticfreejuly.org.