A shopping centre has come up with an ingenious way to cut down on plastic and help those who may have forgotten their reusable shopping bags.
Last year when major retailers like Woolworths and Coles phased out single-use plastic bags, there were mixed feelings. Some shoppers were happy to see supermarkets taking a stand, while others weren’t too impressed.
Marrickville Metro in Sydney’s inner west set up a ‘bag station’, a system that locals are loving, which prevents people using single-use plastic bags. And now people are urging other shopping centres to follow suit.
The bag station allows customer to either leave or take reusable bags for their shopping. People simply go to the bag station, hang up a bag on one of the hooks, or take a bag.
“Choose to re-use, help our environment and borrow a bag today!” it says above the bag station.
While it is unclear when exactly Marrickville Metro erected the wall, the centre put up a poll on their Facebook page last year asking customers if they had used the bag station.
Overwhelmingly, 86 per cent of people voted “Yes – I think it’s great”, while only 14 per cent voted “No – I don’t intend to”.
“Marrickville Metro, the amazing thing is that this is SO being used you can't even see it!!!” one person commented on the poll.
“I saw a woman put about 14 bags out yesterday. I went home to get some of mine. They were gone when I returned.
“I then put out about seven, and went to Woolies. 20 mins later – gone! This is such a great initiative – pls (sic) keep it up.”
A grassroots, environmental group, Boomerang Bags has also helped shoppers in the inner west reduce their plastic.
On Facebook, Boomerang Bags endorsed the bag station and said if people could not get to The Metro to donate bags, all people had to do was come along to a sewing bee and a “boomette” will take bags to replenish the wall.
There has been a call for other shopping centres to do something similar.
In a local Facebook group for residents in Sydney’s south, one person suggested their local shopping centre adopt a bag station too.
“The bag wall at Marrickville Metro seems like a simple solution and a great opportunity for the community to be involved with the reduction of single use plastic,” a person said in the Rockdale Residents Unite Facebook page, sharing a photo of the bag station.
Other Rockdale residents seemed keen on the idea too.
“Actually love this idea. So often get caught out and have to buy ... would love if I could reuse one,” one commented.
“It’s a terrific idea, we have been hoarding bags, as someone always forgets to bring one and ends up buying one,” another person said.
“Would love to leave them where they would be used proper, and pick one up if needed.”
Earlier this week Woolworths announced the supermarket giant was rolling out a paper bag trial at 20 stores across Australia.
Incidentally, Marrickville Metro will be one of the stores trialling the paper bags.
When single-use plastic bags were introduced in the 1970s, paper bags were phased out of stores.
The bags Woolworths will be rolling out are made from 80 per cent recycled paper and 20 per cent virgin paper and can be thrown in with other recyclables in the yellow kerbside bin.
“The vast majority of our customers bring their own bags to shop, but we know there are occasions when they forget or visit our stores unplanned,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“Some customers have told us they would like the option of a paper bag when this happens.”
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