Bag the plas­tics

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

PORT Dou­glas artists are be­ing in­vited to de­sign an iconic Port Dou­glas re­us­able shop­ping bag in a project aimed at phas­ing out plas­tic bags in the town.

The Think Out­side the Bag project is a joint ini­tia­tive be­tween Cairns and Far North En­vi­ron­ment Cen­tre, Tan­garoa Blue So­ci­ety and the Dou­glas Shire Sus­tain­abil­ity Group to work with small busi­nesses in a bid to re­duce plas­tic bag waste in our pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment.

The theme of the re­us­able bag, which will be made of a nat­u­ral fi­bre like cot­ton or bam­boo and de­signed in a way that por­trays the nat­u­ral beauty of the Port Dou­glas re­gion, can also dou­ble as a sou­venir for tourists.

Tan­garoa Blue So­ci­ety founder Heidi Tay­lor said plas­tic bags are the most com­mon item they clean from our beaches and are a re­source “we don’t ac­tu­ally need” that im­pacts marine life.

“In Port Dou­glas we are the gate­way to the Great Bar­rier Reef and ev­ery­one talks about op­er­a­tors be­ing eco-ac­cred­ited and eco-friendly and I think this is a re­ally good way of show­ing that and lead­ing the way, be­ing cre­ative and take a stance to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment as a community,” she said.

“We did a sur­vey and the shops and busi­nesses wanted to find a so­lu­tion easy for them to im­ple­ment and won’t cost a for­tune and if those two things were ad­dressed the ma­jor­ity of busi­nesses said they were open to the idea.”

CAFNEC project man­ager Anna McGuire said the most ob­vi­ous rea­son to in­tro­duce re­us­able plas­tic bags is to re­duce the num­ber of in­juries and death among marine wildlife.

“Telling peo­ple not to use plas­tic bags, peo­ple have been told that be­fore, we’re try­ing to be cre­ative in the way we bring across our mes­sage and draw on lo­cal tal­ent in the community,” she said.

The Dou­glas Shire Sus­tain­abil­ity Group pres­i­dent Robert Hanan said their mem­bers “whole­heart­edly” sup­ported the ini­tia­tive.

“It’s a good op­por­tu­nity for a bit of cre­ativ­ity and a bit of think­ing out­side the bag and an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to re­flect on their own be­hav­iour and how they can make a dif­fer­ence,” he said.

The artist whose de­sign is cho­sen for the re­us­able bag will win a full- day snorkelling trip for two on Po­sei­don, do­nated by Po­sei­don Cruises.

Email your de­sign to sus­tain­abil­ity@ cafnec.org.au by Oc­to­ber 31 or visit www.cafnec.org.au for more de­tails.

PUSH TO BE PLAS­TIC BAGFREE: Scuba Dave owner and Tan­garoa Blue mem­ber Katie Smith

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