David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: Renewable carry bags replace plastic bags as the norm for shopping in the City.

TARGET DATE: December 2003 PROGRESS: Some.

DESCRIPTION: To replace Melbourne's contribution to Australia's use of 6 billion or so plastic bags each year with reusable calico bags for shopping in the City.

The City of Melbourne is a major retailing centre. Durable shopping/carry bags are not commonly available at the point at which people make their purchases.

The City of Melbourne was the first Victorian local government to receive ’Waste Wise’ accreditation. We already do a lot of innovative work in retailing and in waste management, including through membership of the Western Regional Waste Management Group.

Plastic bags are often used once only and on disposal can become both a major landfill burden and danger to birds, animals and fish when they pollute the environment. These externalised costs are not borne by the user, while shifting the cost to ratepayers through street cleaning, rubbish disposal and environmental degradation.

The City of Melbourne spends millions of dollars annually on combinations of television and print advertising. It would not be difficult to allocate a proportion of our expenditure to direct solutions, which I believe are the most effective form of solution and a more effective means of implementing our strategic direction.

More than two years ago I asked the Queen Victoria market to sell reusable calico bags to market shoppers. The Queen Victoria Market is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Melbourne City Council. The program became a strong success, and I am told that something like 10,000 calico bags are sold each month.

More recently I have sought to expand the program City wide. I put the following Notice of Motion to the 3 December 2002 Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee.




That Melbourne City Council market its commitment to environmental responsibility by co-operating with precincts, the Queen Victoria Market, other retailers, resident and community groups within the City of Melbourne to provide calico shopping bags with the following features:
1. durable and capable of carrying medium-sized shopping items;
2. Australian made;
3. recognition on the bag of the City of Melbourne;
4. recognition on the bag of a retailer or other body where they are involved in the sponsoring or distribution of the bag in sufficient quantities to justify a separate printing run;
5. be printed with words that include the following message: "Waste not, want not." or "I am Reducing, Re-using and Recycling" and "The City of Melbourne";
6. be recommended as sold by retailers at cost price plus 10% as an alternative to plastic bags;
7. up to two bags per ratepayer be made available for pickup at the Town Hall;
8. be made available as a corporate gift; and
9. be made available as a marketing give-away at the Melbourne Visitors Centre and other events.

Ten days from the passing of this resolution Council should have placed an order for at least 2,000 bags, with the intention that bags be available during the Christmas and post-Christmas sales.

My motion was passed unanimously, with a condition proposed by Councillor Chamberlin that only $5,000 be spent on the program.

1,500 bags were subsequently produced and are to be distributed over Christmas and Sustainability Month in February 2003.

FURTHER INFORMATION: The City of Melbourne has now purchased $10,000 of reusable calico bags for distribution. Please contact the City of Melbourne on 9658 9658 to see if a bags remain available for residents to pick up from the Town Hall.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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