Retailers to confront the paper bag challenge

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: The Australian Retailers Association and Australian Paper have joined together to launch a campaign intended to replace the 6.4 billion plastic bags used in Australia each year with recyclable and renewable paper bags.

“The Australian Retailers Association is committed to reducing plastic bag usage through its voluntary code of practice. We know consumers are looking for packaging options that are environmentally responsible and the Australian made, recyclable paper bag which is produced from renewable resources is a perfect option,” said Australian Retailers Association CEO, David Edwards.

With Governments around Australia also getting in on the act, the urgency and, for many, relevancy of such environmental initiatives will undoubtedly be increased.

“Paper bags are made from renewable resources and have high recycled fibre content.  Depending on the contents they hold, they can be used a number of times before being recycled,” said Australian Paper’s Simon Talbot.

“Any paper bags that are put into the rubbish are fully biodegradable. The new fibre that is used to make the bags is certified to the highest environmental standards including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). On these criteria alone, plastic bags just can’t compete.”

“Australian Paper understands that consumers are looking to purchase green products that they can be confident in. We have seen strong growth in our range of recycled office papers such as Reflex and Australian and our envelope paper, Postspeed Recycled, and are confident that Australian consumers will respond to the paper bag in the same way,” said Talbot.

The campaign will commence initially through retailers with a consumer campaign launching in April 2007 through television, cinema, Internet and print advertising.

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