Produce store to phase out plastic bags

Pheasants Nest Produce owners Lee Hokianga and Jamie McDonald want to phase out plastic bags at their store. They are charging customers 20 cents for paper bags but hope to charge customers for using plastic bags in the near future. Picture: Simon Bennett
Pheasants Nest Produce owners Lee Hokianga and Jamie McDonald want to phase out plastic bags at their store. They are charging customers 20 cents for paper bags but hope to charge customers for using plastic bags in the near future. Picture: Simon Bennett

Pheasants Nest Produce is changing its customers’ attitudes towards the environment – one paper bag at a time.

The Picton fruit and vegetable store is following in the eco-friendly footsteps of Woolworths and Coles and has committed to phasing out single-use plastic shopping bags.

The supermarket giants said they would stop giving out plastic bags by July, 2018. Popular fruit and vegetable store Minto Fruit Orchard has promised to do the same.

Pheasants Nest Produce owner Lee Hokianga said the business was already environmentally-friendly and recycled its cardboard and gave food scraps to chickens.

“We are encouraging our customers to buy a paper bag rather than use plastic bags,” she said.

“We are trying to phase them out.

“We are a throwaway society and I hate how things are pre-packaged and wrapped in plastic.

“It is a cause we believe in. The initiative fits with our business philosophy and we aim to reduce waste that goes into landfill.”

Ms Hokianga said the staff were trying to change the customer’s views.

“It can be hard because people, especially older customers, are used to using plastic bags,” she said.

“We usually just pack the groceries into boxes unless a customer asks for a plastic bag.

“We encourage people not to use them.”

Ms Hokianga said most of the customers used paper bags or baskets to put their loose fruit and vegetables in when walking around the shop and many preferred to use a cardboard box to carry their groceries to their car.

Ms Hokianga said the staff had to charge people 20 cents for a paper bag because they are in excess of four times more expensive than plastic bags.

She wants to eventually charge people to use plastic bags at the checkout.

In the long run, the store-owner wants to remove all plastic bags except freezer-style bags used to carry loose-leaf lettuce and salad.

Other retail stores in the shire only use paper bags. Ms Hokianga commended other shops for taking up the initiative and encouraged others to do the same.

Ms Hokianga said it was “pathetic” that NSW had not banned the checkout-style plastic bags when South Australia, where she grew up, had since 2009.

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