Old world relics

Waste wise guru Nabilla Antipas with clean-up organiser Sonja-Belle Wood from Eco Surf Australia with a couple of museum pieces.

A COUPLE of decades-old plastic bags were amongst the rubbish collected at a Keep Australia Beautiful Council clean-up at Rottnest Island last week. 

Given that the name Charlie Carters was retired when the Perth-based grocery chain was bought out by Coles in 1998, and New World hasn’t been part of Coles’ branding since 1991, this pair probably qualify as museum exhibits.

The Chook also spotted the old (09) Perth telephone prefix on the bottom corner of the Charlie Carters bag; that dates it back to at least 1997 when the prefix was changed over to (08) and the number 9 added to the front of metro phone numbers because mobile phones and additional phone lines in homes were pushing Australia’s old exchanges to their limits.

The phone number belonged to Torkan Packaging, a Malaga-based plastic bag manufacturer which seems to have only recently closed down – perhaps with the McGowan government’s phasing out of single-use plastics such as these two fading beauties being the final nail.

Back in 2017, Torkan owner Fabio Civiletti wrote to printing press manufacturer Wolverine Flexographic to let them know he was retiring their Wolverine Hydro Press after 48 years, meaning it could have been the very machine that pumped out the Charlie Carters placcy bag. There’s some irony in the bag outliving both the machine that produced it and the company.

And to finish off our museum exhibit, the striking barcode Charlie Carters included on their shopping bags also deserves a mention. They date back to late 1983 when the supermarket opened its first “Scanning Store” in Perth and you could buy a litre of Coke for .73c.

Barcodes had only been introduced to Australia in 1979 on the east coast, meaning Charlie Carters were an earlyish local adopter and the store was touted as the city’s first “modern” supermarket.

Meanwhile over at The Basin and Pinky’s on Rotto, the 58 volunteers, including students from the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Scotch College, Christ Church Grammar School joined the North Cottesloe surf club collected nearly 1000 other items of litter weighing in at 64kg.

by STEVE GRANT

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