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Make plastic bags history, October 10th 2010

The Plastic Bag Free Day was held at the Lane Cove Fair on Sunday 10th October 2010, at the conclusion of the popular Cameraygal Festival. Over two hundred local stallholders and retailers were invited to participate in Plastic Bag Free Day, with major Lane Cove retailers, including Coles and Woolworths, committing to using reusable bags on the day.

The initiative was organised by the Lane Cove Sustainability Action Group (LCSAG) in partnership with Lane Cove Council, who provided 4,000 reusable canvas bags to hand out to their customers for use by stallholders and retailers on the day.

The Plastic Bag Free Day was a serious attempt by the LCSAG to reduce the use of the single-use plastic bag in the Lane Cove shopping precinct.

“In encouraging the community to replace plastic bags with reusable bags and to reuse those reusable bags, Lane Cove will contribute to a reduction of the 3.9 billion plastic bags used in Australia annually; 429 000 every hour,” said Ann Horn, president of the LCSAG. “The vast majority of plastic bags go to landfill (3.76 billion bags each year). Most of the others also are wasted, polluting our waterways and oceans”.

LCSAG has been campaigning since 2009 to raise awareness of the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags. Nearly 1000 signatures of support have been collected from local residents. Some retailers in Lane Cove have displayed the sign 'Say No to Plastic Bags in Lane Cove' in their shop window.

At the Lane Cove Fair, LCSAG members were at a stall in Sustainability Lane providing information to local residents about the group and ways in which the community can become involved in the ongoing campaign for a Plastic Bag Free Lane Cove.

Following Plastic Bag Free Day, LCSAG investigated and implemented a bag-share system for Lane Cove retailers.

LCSAG’s mission is to inform the public and to lobby politicians and policymakers to implement long-overdue legislation in regard to the use of plastic bags. Local action is taking place because of a failure of Federal and State politicians to enact legislation. The continuing increase in use of free disposable plastic bags by Australians highlights the failure of the voluntary measures in the Australian Retailers Association’s Code of Practice for the Management of Plastic Bags.

For more information, or for interview, please contact Sjirk Bangma, phone 0418 613 749.