IGA chooses bags over environment

Bring 'em back: Lennox Head IGA supermarket has responded to customer requests for the return of plastic bags after a year’s trial without them.
Bring 'em back: Lennox Head IGA supermarket has responded to customer requests for the return of plastic bags after a year’s trial without them.

IT'S A question of ‘convenience over the environment' at Lennox Head as the IGA Supermarket brings back plastic bags after 12 months of being plastic-free.

The store manager said overwhelming customer feedback had led to the return of plastic bags.

“Due to customer feedback over the past 12 months we have reintroduced customer choice,” said the manager.

“We have boxes, green bags, paper bags for 17 cents and reusable, biodegradable plastic bags.”

The onus is now on the customer to make the choice.

While there may have been opposition from some customers, the bag-free town had its supporters, including Louise Owen, from the Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce.

“It's extremely disappointing,” Ms Owen said.

“I believe it was very successful over the past 12 months. And I don't think convenience should take precedence over the environmental issue.”

Ms Owen believes there should be a price on plastic bags, saying the cost of plastic should be more than the cost of a paper bag to discourage customers using plastic.

“The community now needs to refuse plastic bags,” Ms Owen said.

“Take your green bags in your car, in your bag, so you always have them with you.

“Lennox Head is a beautiful town that deserves protection, rather than the convenience of the 21st Century.”

Australian Sea Bird Rescue general manager Keith Williams, whose organisation is opposed to plastic bags because of the risk they pose for sea life, said he understood the pressures on the supermarket as a business, but was disappointed that plastic bags had been returned.

“It's disappointing,” he said. “But I guess that just means it's our job to make sure we continue to educate people about the problems with plastic.

“One of the good things is that a lot of people in Lennox now have the reusable bags and we need to continue that education.”

Mr Williams said the impact on wildlife over the 12-month period had not changed, explaining one town on the coast was not making a major difference.

“It's more about the statement the town was making,” he said.

The IGA manager acknowledged there were supporters, but said they had given the plastic-free trial enough time.

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