Busselton retailers prepare for plastic bag ban

A nifty and thrifty idea from a Busselton store has taken the environmentally friendly shopping bag to a new level.

Busselton Salvation Army Thrift Shop has produced its own bags, created from donated pillowcases.

The bags were the brainchild of assistant manager Dawn McCarthy, who saw an opportunity with a large number of bedding donations and WA’s ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags coming in on July 1.

“We get hundreds of pillowcases and sometimes they are missing their pair, or there is a small mark or there is some reason they aren’t good enough to be sold,” she said.

“We are always trying to think of ways to cut down on waste by recycling and reusing so I thought this is something we could do that is good for the environment.”

Ms McCarty has 30 bags ready to go and is being assisted by three volunteers to produce more.

The bags will be free for customers.

The idea is in line with the store’s ethos to not let any item donated item go to waste, even if it can’t be sold as is in store.

Workers and volunteers take clothes home to try and remove stains, cut sheets up to be packaged as rags and even cut buttons off clothes to sell.

Busselton Salvation Army Thrift Shop manager Sharon Dannock explained this extra effort was because all funds raised at the store go directly to the Busselton community.

“All the donations in this shop are local donations as well so we are very thankful to the community for the amount of donations and the good quality of those donations,” she said.

Another retailer embracing the upcoming plastic bag ban and leading the way with environmentally friendly alternatives is Busselton IGA.

The supermarket made the change away from plastic in 2016 and now packs groceries in to cardboard boxes, with customers encouraged to bring in their own reusable green bags.

The ban will bring WA into line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, which already have plastic bag bans in place.

Queensland has also committed to a ban from July 1.

A survey of WA households found that 84 per cent of respondents support a ban on lightweight, single-use plastic bags.

It is estimated that Western Australians used about 360 million single-use plastic bags in 2017.

These bags have an average useful life of 12 minutes and in WA about five million are littered annually.

To prepare the community for the changes, Dunsborough Public Library will hold a Reusable Shopping Bag Workshop on Friday, February 16 at 1pm.

It will involve a demonstration of how to sew a reusable shopping bag by Anette Leding from Sewing Inspirations.

Numbers are limited, to book call 97567111.

Participants will need to provide their own materials and sewing machine.