Every bit counts: Charity hands out reusable bags to help customers

HAPPY SHOPPER: Peter Balsom selects carrots to place in a new reusable bag at FoodCare Orange with volunteer Del Thorne. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1114jkfoodcare5
HAPPY SHOPPER: Peter Balsom selects carrots to place in a new reusable bag at FoodCare Orange with volunteer Del Thorne. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1114jkfoodcare5

Peter Balsom is trying to balance paying a home loan on a disability pension.

It means he does not have enough money left for food each week.

But thankfully help is available.

FoodCare Orange provides a supermarket full of low cost and free food for about 100 needy people a week.

At Tuesday’s launch of FoodCare Orange’s latest initiative, providing reusable orange bags to customers, Mr Balsom revealed the vital role the service played in his life.

“I come on a regular basis,” he said.

“I am on a disability pension and I am also paying a mortgage here in town.

“I was working when I got the mortgage but I’m not working now.

“It definitely adds to the pressure of things.

“This [FoodCare] is a safety net to call on when you need it.

“I come here before I do my shopping so I know what I can get.”

FoodCare committee member Emma Dresser said about 60-70 per cent of their customers were regulars.

She said the reusable bags project was paid for by the charity to show people how to help reduce landfill.

“We want people to come here with the bag, it is a good promotion,” she said.

“They will reduce the need for disposable plastic bags and also remind people who see them that they too can make a small change to make a big difference.

“Reducing waste in everyday activities is one way people can join the campaign and change outcomes for their local environment.”

She said that after the initial free handout of bags they would look at selling them for $1 or $2 to promote recycling.

The scheme is being supported by NetWaste which is offering prizes to FoodCare customers in a competition with entry forms in the bags to highlight the importance of placing the right things in the correct recycling bin.

Environmental learning adviser Sue Clarke said it helped people change their shopping habits.

“That will ultimately lead to less plastic bags entering our waterways and environment and increase awareness of the importance of putting the right thing in the right bin so we reduce waste to landfill,” she said.

FoodCare Orange receives donations of fresh and frozen food and groceries from local producers including Fresh Fodder, the Apple Co-Op and Racine bakery and Coles and Aldi supermarkets.

The reusable bag scheme is a Planet Ark initiative and part of National Recycling Week activities.