GREAT RESULT: Jan Clifford and Barb Adamson celebrate the ban of single-use plastic bags at VMR by giving thanks to everyone who has helped with Boomerang Bags.
GREAT RESULT: Jan Clifford and Barb Adamson celebrate the ban of single-use plastic bags at VMR by giving thanks to everyone who has helped with Boomerang Bags. Jessica Lamb

Goodbye to single-use plastic bags celebrated

FOR councillor Jan Clifford, Sunday was a surreal milestone after a decade of campaigning to make the Whitsundays free from single-use plastic bags.

July 1 signified the first day in a change in legislation which effectively removed single-use plastic bags and lightweight plastic shopping bags.

Shoppers still have access to bags for groceries such as fruit and vegetables, plus garbage bags and bin liners.

Thicker plastic bags can be purchased for 15c from larger retailers such as Coles and Woolworths.

Boomerang Bags celebrated the occasion by holding a lunch at the VMR building on Sunday, presenting tokens of appreciation to supporters and donors.

Boomerang Bags have been distributed to retailers across the region, including Jubilee Pocket IGA, Big W, Master Butchers Whitsundays and more.

The concept behind the bag is simple - you borrow it when you forget your own eco-friendly bag and return it on your next shop.

Organiser Barb Adamson thanked Shirtfront Solutions for donating 14,000 printed pockets for the bags.

Engaging incarcerated women in the activity, Ms Adamson said the "prison ladies” had made 1299 bags as of last week - almost half of the total bags sewed.

"One Boomerang Bag over five years will save 2600 plastic bags,” she said.

"We want it to become habit for people when leaving the house to check they have reusable bags.”

Division one councillor Jan Clifford said 900million plastic bags were used in the state last year, 16 million of which ended up as litter.

"This is a really big milestone for Queensland and next we will tackle plastic straws, single-use plastic bottles and unnecessary plastic packaging.”

Jubilee Pocket IGA was the first supermarket in the region to go plastic bag free more than a year ago and now offers a 5c cashback for customers for every reusable bag they bring.

Eco Barge Clean Seas is organising a clean-up from the PCYC to Airlie Beach Woolworths to count the litter - particularly plastic bags - in the area.

The organisation plans to repeat the sweep in three months' time to note the difference this ban makes.