Bagging plastic

SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths has agreed to put locally-produced returnable plastic bags into its South Fremantle store in order to cut back on plastic use.

The initiative is being championed by Growers Green Farmers Market co-ordinator Kylie Wheatley, who’s itching to beat Fremantle council to the punch by banning plastic bags from the popular Sunday markets at South Fremantle high school.

Ms Wheatley signed up to be the local co-ordinator for Boomerang Bags, a Queensland initiative where volunteers produce bags from recycled materials to be loaned to customers.

• Growers Green’s Kylie Wheatley and Ecoburbia’s Shani Graham are hoping to get 1000 “Boomerang Bags” so forgetful customers don’t have to reach for the plastic. Photo by Steve Grant

“We have been trying to educate the stallholders and most are on board, but plastic continues to come into the market,” Ms Wheatley says.

“This is mostly due to lack of planning, forgetting to bring your own bags for shopping, or spontaneously deciding to buy a few things.

“I myself am guilty of grabbing plastic when I have no alternative.”

Ms Wheatley says the initiative already going gangbusters, with help from organisations like the Men’s Shed which is making stands, and the Meeting Place which is organising a team of sewers. She’s hoping to create 1000 bags for Fremantle.

She says the popularity of the bags does mean some people are finding it hard to give them back, but they’re looking at whether to make some for sale to satisfy the market.

Ms Wheatley says she was inspired by mayor Brad Pettitt’s push for the plastic ban, as well as Ecoburbia sustainability gurus Tim Darby and Shani Graham (who’s shared home has become bag-making central) and Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, who created Plastic Free July which first gave her the idea.

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