Mixed views on plastic-free world

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

Katanning communities have shown mixed reactions towards the Plastic-Free July movement that WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson recently launched to encourage WA residents to go plastic-free.

Katanning IGA general manager Graeme Norrish said although he encouraged his customers to reuse their plastic bags, he was not sure whether WA could eliminate plastic use entirely.

He said the movement had not really considered the whole production line where plastic use had become an essential part of food packaging and distribution.

“So many people use them in their everyday life so I’m not sure if we can actually eliminate them entirely,” Mr Norrish said.

His store location is also another aspect to consider when it comes to eliminating plastic bags.

“A lot of our customers live quite remotely, so it’s not easy for them to go back home if they forget their shopping bags.

“That’s why we don’t charge for plastic bags like some other supermarkets in Perth are doing, but we encourage them to bring their own bags whenever it’s possible.”

Katanning IGA manager Vlada Jankovich said that it was not about eliminating plastic bag use but about changing customers’ daily habits.

He recognised the convenience of plastic bag use but encouraged his customers to be more conscious of the life cycle of plastic bags because most of it ended up in landfill.

According to a recent survey, more than 100,000 West Australians are prepared to go plastic- free, though many are still unwilling to pay the extra cost for plastic bags at the supermarket.

Last October, Denmark Supa IGA attempted to charge their customers 10 cents a bag but the owner was forced to drop the policy by disgruntled customers.

However, Denmark’s IGA X-Press owner was not deterred by the poor response at the neighbouring store and continues to replace plastic bags with paper bags for 10¢ apiece. The store covers the remaining 20¢ cost.

With mixed reviews and results around the Great Southern, Mr Dawson is still set to challenge all West Australians to accept the 31-day plastic-free July challenge.

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