Shoppers have embraced a scheme to cut the use of plastic bags and switch to more environmentally friendly cardboard boxes at a leading Orange retailer.
Harris Farm Markets is reporting an increase in people happy to refuse plastic after their scheme started just over two weeks ago.
Operations manager Donna Murphy said the number of customers agreeing to the change had risen from about 18 per cent to 23 per cent and was heading toward 40 per cent.
"There is a major increase in people not using the plastic bags."
“In the first two to three weeks we have had 5700 customers out of 24,400 agree not to have a plastic bag,” she said.
“There is a major increase in people not using the plastic bags.
“We’re heading up to 40 per cent of the customers.
“We’re saying to people, “Would you like to use a cardboard box?”
Miss Murphy said the store offered the boxes for free, paper bags for 20 cents, green corn starch bags for $2.49, chiller bags for $2.99 and hessian bags for $3.99 as reusable alternatives to the plastic bags which usually ended up in landfill and in our oceans.
Store manager Mitch Bennett said they also suggested that customers bring their own bags for their shopping.
He said the plastic bag ban was proving acceptable in Orange.
“As far as I know were are the only ones in town doing it,” he said.
Customer Udo Herzig said he was pleased to use a box rather than a plastic bag as it helped the environment.
“The plastic just goes in our oceans and into landfill,” he said.
“And cardboard boxes can always be re-used.”
Harris Farm Markets is also encouraging people to buy bottled milk rather than in plastic containers.
Miss Murphy said they had installed a bottling unit where customers could select a bottle and fill it in-store.
The Single Herd Milk scheme also lists the farm from where the milk was sourced – currently the Rivendell Jersey Herd at Nowra.
She said it was only the fourth Harris Farm store to trial the scheme.
“The idea is to use as little plastic as possible,” she said.
Miss Murphy said the bottles could not be re-used but they were installing a sterilising machine in store which would enable bottles to be re-used.
The milk bottles cost $3 compared to $1.99 for plastic containers.