CEQ hits expanded plastic bag ban target in remote Indigenous stores three months before Qld Govt deadline
[by Gavin Broomhead]
Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) has taken another major step towards living its Vision of ‘Caring, Every Day, Always’ by reducing its environmental impact and expanding the single-use plastic bag ban in its remote stores across North Queensland as of April.
The not-for-profit organisation provides goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its 28 stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.
As part of the Queensland Government’s expanded plan to tackle plastic waste, Queensland
businesses will not be allowed to use single-use plastic bags as of 1 September 2023.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Dykes said CEQ had chosen to proactively activate this transition by ceasing the ordering of heavyweight plastic bags in its remote stores from 3 April this year, as part of its commitment to help local communities meet their aspirations for a healthier and sustainable future.
“This is another important step to protect our environment and create a more sustainable future for generations to come,” said Mr Dykes.
“Once the Queensland Government announced it was expanding the ban of single-use plastic items later this year, we decided to act as early and as quickly as possible.
“This means that even the heavyweight plastic bags that we consider ‘re-usable’ will no longer be allowed.
“We’ve listened, taken action, and today we’re informing all our customers that we take plastic
“When we say we care, every day, always, we mean it.”
CEQ General Manager (Merchandise) Casey Kelly said she was proud of her retail team for stepping up and expanding the single-use plastic bag ban well before the Queensland Government deadline.
“There were several logistical challenges to get to this stage, and the team have done an amazing job,” she said.
“As of 3 April, we’ll stop ordering the heavyweight plastic bags currently considered reusable, and then will phase out existing stock by introducing a suite of environmentally friendly bag options.
“We believe that by caring for the environment, we can make a better place for people to live, work and enjoy.
“Our stores are located in some of the most beautiful islands and communities in the world, and we need to protect that for generations to come.”
In 2021, the Queensland Government banned a number of single-use plastics food products like straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, unenclosed bowls, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway containers and EPS cups.
Community, industry and business consultation has shown strong support to expand the ban to include other single-use plastic items.
As a result, the following single-use plastic items will be banned from 1 September 2023:
• heavyweight plastic shopping bags
• cotton buds with plastic stems
• expanded polystyrene loose packaging
• plastic microbeads in rinseable personal care and cleaning products
• mass release of lighter than air balloons.
Mr Dykes said CEQ stores were well prepared for the upcoming changes.
“Once the ban was announced by the Queensland Government, our teams immediately began
working with suppliers to source appropriate range alternatives,” Mr Dykes said.
“We will have an exciting new range of reusable bags available to customers in all our remote stores ahead of our 3 April launch.”
Mr Dykes said that in-store posters and digital noticeboard announcements would also be running in CEQ’s remote stores to ensure customers were fully aware of the ban on single-use plastic bags, as well as announcements via its social media channels.
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