Choose to reuse and join the Plastic Free July campaign

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Lismore City Council is encouraging people to join its Plastic Free July campaign, get involved in free community activities and help eliminate single-use plastic bags in Lismore.

As well as encouraging local businesses to stock reusable shopping bags instead of single-use plastic bags, Council is also hosting bag-making workshops and running a Reusable Bag Design Competition.

“The winners of the design competition will have their designs printed on a series of reusable bags with the slogan ‘Choose to Reuse’ and these will form the centrepiece of our Plastic Free July campaign,” Council’s Waste Education Officer Barbara Jensen said.

“We will provide some of these bags free to local businesses as part of our push to encourage retailers to get on board and go plastic free.”

Greig Shanley from Fundies Wholefood Market in Keen Street has committed to support Plastic Free July and will not be offering plastic bags for the month, instead stocking boxes, Boomerang Bags and paper bags. He will also encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags.

“Health and the environment is what our industry is all about so it makes sense for us to take part and promote Plastic Free July,” Greig said.

“One of our staff did a little trial and didn’t offer anyone a plastic bag during her shift one day. In over six hours only about eight people actually asked for a plastic bag. It was a really interesting experiment for us. It surprised us how few people requested one once we stopped offering.”

Barbara explained that single-use plastic bags are an environmental hazard and said it was worth remembering that every single piece of plastic ever made still exists somewhere in the world.

“Plastic is designed to last forever, yet every day we use it for disposable items that last a few minutes and then throw it away,” she said.

“Most plastic goes to landfill, some is recycled and much ends up in the environment. The Plastic Free July campaign claims that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans. That is a really scary statistic, and we can start addressing the problem by doing something about our plastic use as a community. Lismore is a leader and an innovator when it comes to recycling, so this is a chance to lead by example on how to reduce plastic dependency.”

Barbara said the first step was encouraging people to uses reusable bags whenever they shop and to say no to plastic.

Community members are encouraged to get involved in the following Plastic Free July activities.

Business survey
Retailers are being asked to complete a survey so Council can better understand how local businesses use or don't use single-use plastic bags (e.g. customer preference, barriers and challenges to reduction or elimination etc). Your input would be greatly appreciated and it only takes a few minutes.

Take the Plastic Free July Business Survey

Enter our Reusable Bag Design Competition
For entry forms and criteria visit our Reusable Bag Design Comp page. Child and adult categories. Entries close at 4pm on Wednesday, 31 May.

Learn to sew a reusable shopping bag with the Lismore Boomerang Baggers
Saturday, 20 May, 10am to 1pm at the Lismore Revolve Shop, 313 Wyrallah Road, East Lismore. Come along and join the new movement to cut, sew and create new reusable shopping bags from fabric offcuts that are available at local shops to use and bring back. Fabric donations greatly appreciated too!

Design and screen print a reusable calico bag
Saturday, 17 June, 10am to 1pm at Lismore Revolve Shop, 313 Wyrallah Road, East Lismore. Materials supplied. To book your place phone 1300 87 83 87.

Screening of Bag It
Join us for a screening of the film Bag It at the Upcycle Your Holidays free event on Thursday, 13 July at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre from 10am. In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, we follow ‘everyman’ Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. This screening has kindly been organised by North East Waste.

Image: Gearing up for Plastic Free July are (l-r) Greig Shanley from Fundies Wholefood Market with Cheryl Smoother and Heather Dunn from Lismore Boomerang Baggers and Lismore City Council Waste Education Officer Barbara Jensen.

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