The City of Greater Bendigo is yet to provide a formal stance on the ‘ban the bag’ campaign following a renewed push by interest groups to make Bendigo a plastic-free city.
Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the city was aware of the boomerang bag – a reusable, fabric bag alternative to single-use shopping bags – but it “wasn’t something discussed as a council yet, but we will”, she said.
Other local governments like Indigo Shire have recently moved to ban plastic bags and bottles from council-run events, something which Bendigo would also consider, according to Cr O’Rourke.
“I’m sure that’s something we will have a look at, obviously every shire approaches this differently,” she said.
A key director in the decision-making process would be the city’s waste review, due to be completed by the end of 2017.
The state government has the authority to ban single-use plastic bags in Victoria, and a private member’s bill proposing to do just that is before parliament.
Cr O’Rourke, along with City of Greater Bendigo Director Presentation and Assets, Craig Lloyd, were speaking at the presentation of a repurposed council waste truck, which was adorned with a graphic reminding residents to not put plastic bags in their recycling or organic bins.
Recycling and organic items were regularly put in plastic bags in their respective bins, according to Mr Lloyd, which proved problematic for council’s waste services.
“It certainly adds to the process and slows things down,” he said.
“I do think people care, obviously that’s mixed across the communities. People as a community are generally trying to do the right thing with their rubbish, what we’re trying to do is broaden that out further to odd individuals who aren’t doing the right thing or don’t know how to use the system.”
The city cannot recycle plastic bags through its kerbside collection service, however larger supermarkets are involved in the REDcycle recycling program, which encourages shoppers to bring their surplus bags back into the store.
The move to increase awareness around errant plastic bags was not a response to increasing bad practice, according to Mr Lloyd, who added council had not seen “much of an improvement”.