Locally-owned business Pink Lake Butchers are doing their bit to be environmentally responsible, encouraging customers to bring reusable containers and eco bags to the store.
Pink Lake owner Kaaron Mitchell said it had been more than six months since the company had begun encouraging patrons to bring their own containers, many of which have embraced the move.
“We’ve had a fair few customers who had been doing it prior to that and we’ve had a really good response,” she said.
“We knew the single-use plastic bag ban was coming up and we were really just trying to encourage people to shop the way nana used to – bringing your own bags and containers.
“It’s up to everyone to be responsible for their own waste and for the environment.”
The state government moved to have the single-use plastic bag ban implemented by July 1, 2018.
The Greens moved a motion for disallowance in parliament on Thursday, June 28, stating that barrier bags used throughout the meat industry should be included in the single-use plastic bag ban.
The move was condemned by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who said deli bags were required to protect the integrity of uncooked meats and cheeses.
Ms Mitchell said a complete plastic ban was difficult to implement in the meat industry, both financially and based on current Health Department regulations.
“Health Department requirements state that we must use plastic box liners and that all of the meat in the coolroom must be covered in plastic,” she said.
“Even our vacuum packing, it’s all plastic, and a lot of our meat comes wrapped in plastic.
“It’s just so hard to be completely plastic free in this industry – no matter how much we try to limit it, it’s just something that the [Health] Department requires.
“We’re doing what we can.”
Having weighed up the cost of alternative options herself, Ms Mitchell said the additional financial costs for small businesses were exorbitant.
“For small businesses, the additional costs of buying the greaseproof paper and that sort of thing is just exorbitant,” she said.
“I did the costings of the paper bags and the plastic and the paper bags equate to nearly 45 cents per bag whereas the plastic ones are less than 1 cent.
“The added cost to small business is huge.”
Ms Mitchell said local initiatives, including Boomerang Bags, had been a fantastic help.
“Boomerang Bags have been fantastic and bought some bags for customers and within the next few weeks we’ll have more reusable eco bags coming,” she said.
“It’s the way things are going – if we want to keep living on this Earth, we have to look after it.”