South Melbourne Market is banning single-use plastic bags from Wednesday April 11, and bringing in a new BYOB (bring your own bag) policy to encourage market-goers to opt for reusable bags, baskets and trolleys.
Three sizes of paper bags, made of 100% sustainable sourced paper, will be available to purchase from traders for 20c each if you forget your own.
Boomerang Bags sewn by volunteers in Elwood and Port Melbourne will also be available to borrow. Customers are trusted to borrow and bring back the bags without handing over any details, as part of a worldwide initiative to help reduce waste.
The move follows the South Melbourne Market’s June 2017 survey that found 90 per cent of shoppers asked supported the ban; 86 per cent of those surveyed were prepared to pay for plastic bag alternatives.
The market’s decision also comes after supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths announced within hours of each other they would be phasing out single-use plastic bags by the middle of this year.
While plastic bags are the South Melbourne Market’s most environmentally damaging disposable item – plastic bags harm the City of Port Phillip’s foreshore, waterways and parklands – the council and market plan to work closely with traders to minimise waste by replacing other plastics, such as those used to wrap fruit and vegetables and takeaway coffee cups, with more sustainable alternatives.
Single-use plastic bags are already banned in South Australia, the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania, with Western Australia and Queensland to follow from the July 1, 2018. Victoria is yet to confirm a date for its ban.