Some Stawell traders are tipped to follow supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths by banning plastic bags in the near future.
It’s a trend that seems to be spreading at a rapid rate, not only statewide but across the country, with local store, Gold Reef Clothing, having already eliminated plastic bags from their store and replaced them with environmentally-friendly paper bags.
Amcal Pharmacy uses both plastic and paper bags, but as they run out of the plastic bags there is no plan to bring more in.
Mandy Murphy of the Stawell Craft Shop said she would also replace plastic bags with a friendlier alternative once her supply had been exhausted.
Sports Power is aiming for a plastic bag-free store once its supply runs out and will be looking to a better alternative.
At the local fish and chip shop, Poseidon, most of their customers were happy to have their tasty goods wrapped the traditional way in paper and do away with the need for a bag.
However, Lyal Eales believes that they will stay with the single-use plastic bags at least for the foreseeable future.
At supermarket level, the local IGA and Woolworths stores have received a mixed reaction from local shoppers to date, but say they will press forward with the ban as customers will adjust over time and become accustomed to either reusing bags they have stored at home or purchase the reusable bags they have for sale in store.
They believe it is all about customer education. Woolworths commenced their ban on the plastic bag on June 20 this year, with much controversy, charging patrons for alternatives, while IGA banned the bags just under a month later and now provides an alternative range of bags for customers to purchase.
Woolworths charges their customers for reusable bags at prices ranging from 15c for a reusable bag to $2.49 for a chiller bag. They also offer customers a bonus point incentive for those who bring their own reusable bags when they do their grocery shop.
Ten million plastic bags are used every day in Australia, equating to a staggering four billion every year, resulting in eight million tonnes of plastic ending up in the ocean.
Although it is reported that the ban on plastic bags may only have a small impact on the environment overall, the majority of local store owners share the attitude that plastic bags are not good for our environment and most will follow the supermarkets’ lead.