Shepparton Hospice Opportunity Shop ban single-use plastic bags

By Shepparton News

Single use plastic bags will be banned in all retail stores, supermarkets, fast food outlets and service stations across Victoria from November.

However, a local Shepparton store jumped ahead and brought the ban in last year.

Shepparton Hospice Opportunity Shop in partnership with the Shepparton Kiwanis Sunrisers Club took part in a Boomerang Bag project.

Boomerang Bags is a world-wide initiative that connects and empowers local communities to sew cloth bags out of donated or leftover materials.

The project aims to connect communities and tackle plastic pollution at a local level.

Hospice op shop volunteer and Kiwanis Sunrisers director Jill Myers said she brought the idea to both stakeholders after seeing the amount of plastic being used at the store.

‘‘The board at Hospice agreed to the idea as it was the ethically right thing to do,’’ Ms Myers said.

‘‘We were busy sewing and ended up making over 400 bags and everyone just loved them,’’ she said.

The strong public response led the store to operate solely with reusable bags.

Ms Myers said the Hospice op shop should be held as an amazing ethical, community example.

‘‘It’s a nice thing to say that we don’t use plastic,’’ she said.

‘‘I hope the Shepparton public and consumers look at Hospice and embrace this and all the shops will have cloth bags to purchase’’.

‘‘Once people continue the idea of bringing a bag it will just be the normal thing to do,’’ she said.

The state ban will extend to all bags made from degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastics.

Plastics without alternatives including bin liners, small fruit and vegetable bags and animal waste bags will still be available.

The legislation will be introduced into parliament this month in a bid to stop millions of plastic bags flowing into the environment and waterways.

Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew said the ban would be a step in the right direction.

‘‘Too many people in the community are not conscious of the damage they cause,’’ Mr Pettigrew said.

‘‘We have a lot of waterways in Shepparton and islands of plastic accumulate in certain areas,’’ he said.

The not-for-profit community group is passionate about the local environment and regularly runs community events, forums and campaigns to help save the local environment.

However, Mr Pettigrew said some of the plastic rubbish in the area was sometimes just too big to tackle.

‘‘Anything that reduces the production and disposal of plastic is a big plus,’’ he said.

‘‘I think most people have seen this coming, we as humans adapt and we are capable of surviving without plastic,’’ he said.