Market goes plastic free

By Emma Doherty

In an effort to support a more green and sustainable future, the South Melbourne Market is going plastic free.

As of April 11 the market is introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags. This means that traders will no longer supply lightweight plastic shopping bags to customers and customers are advised to also bring their own bags.

The only exception to the ban are barrier bags, most commonly used to wrap fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood etc. However, the market’s organisers are hoping to work these single use plastics into the ban in future.

The move follows the Victorian Government’s plans for a state-wide plastic bag ban. Victoria is one of two states to have not already banned single-use lightweight plastic bags.

In June 2017, the market surveyed the community to determine its position on the use of single-use plastic bags. 90 per cent supported the ban and 96 per cent supported a campaign to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.

“We believe now is the time to act on our pledge for the market to be at the forefront of the war on waste and lead the way for the City of Port Phillip in their waste reduction target,” said market general manager Ian Sumpter.

“It requires a simple change of habit to deliver long-term benefits for the environment and the longevity of the market.”

The ban has been praised by the City of Port Phillip’s Mayor Cr Bernadene Voss who said: “Port Phillip residents can see very clearly the harm disposable plastic bags cause to our environment and marine life and council is strongly committed to moving away from using disposable plastic bags.”

Alternatively, paper bags made from 100 per cent sustainably-sourced paper will be available for purchase to shoppers who forget their own bags.

For those wanting to implement more sustainable shopping habits, the market suggests shoppers use reusable produce bags, reusable coffee cups and to say “no”.

The ban is just one of the many green initiatives being implemented by the market. The market has already invested in a solar PV system, the redistribution of food in partnership with SecondBite and the recycling of cooking oil into biodiesel, to name a few.

For more information on the ban and other sustainable initiatives visit southmelbournemarket.com.au/bring-your-own-bags/

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