ONE of Tweed’s smallest villages – Chillingham on the Numinbah Road near the Queensland border – is leading the shire in becoming “plastic bag free”.
The village is set to officially take on a “plastic bag free” status from next Tuesday – with the formal blessing of Tweed Shire Council.
It stands to be the second “plastic bag free” town in NSW – following the community of Kangaroo Valley 140 km south west of Sydney.
Plastic bags are to disappear from the Chillingham Stores and bottle shop, Banana Cabana Fruit Barn, a handful of other small stores and the monthly Chillingham Village Markets – replaced with environmentally-friendly re-usable bags.
“It’s fantastic. It’s really good to be getting away from plastic,” said storekeeper John Wager who has run the local general store, post office and bottle shop for the past seven years.
“I’ve just got the new bags in on Friday afternoon and haven’t unpacked them yet,” he added.
“They are similar to the Coles (environmentally friendly) bags with ‘Chillingham’ on the front.”
Tweed Shire Council sustainability officer Dan Walton said the community was invited to the official launch of the “plastic free” status in the main street of the village at 10.30 am next Tuesday.
“Council hopes that Chillingham’s success will encourage other towns and villages in the shire to follow suit,” Mr Walton said.
He said the council decided in October last year to initiate discussions on the elimination of plastic bags from the Tweed and began working with the Chillingham community to create a model by making the village the first in Northern NSW to go “plastic bag free”.
“Despite our reduction in plastic bag use, Australians still use over four billion plastic check-out bags a year,” Mr Walton said.
“All of them are made from non-renewable fossil fuels.”
Spokeswoman for the monthly markets, due to be held next on June 13, Nerina Eslick, said businesspeople had decided to join forces with Tweed Shire Council “to rid the village of single use plastic check-out bags”.
“Eliminating single use plastic check-out bags complements the community’s efforts to improve village sustainability and is just another step in Chillingham’s journey to create an environmentally responsible community” she said.
One of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations, Coles Bay became the first Australian town to ban plastic bags in 2003.