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Wishing for a low-waste Christmas and a sustainable new year

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Updated December 25, 2017 15:14:55

Whether it's food, alcohol or gifts, the holiday season is typically a time of excess.

But there is a growing appetite for a low-waste Christmas.

Perth's malls have been packed with last-minute shoppers, yet among them was change.

"No wrapping paper this year," one shopper said. She planned to give people their gifts simply as purchased.

Another shopper said he was trying to limit plastic bags, and any Christmas leftovers would go into his compost pile.

"I don't like buying things we already have so they have to wait until they break," said another.

Outside supermarkets, trolleys were filled with a mix of plastic and reusable bags, while some customers walked out with items in their arms.

Surge in demand for eco-friendly products

Rob Frost opened a bulk wholefood food store in Subiaco last year and quickly expanded to sell sustainable products.

He said in the lead-up to Christmas, he wasn't able to keep up with demand.

"We've seen a big surge in the reusable coffee cups, but we're now also seeing a massive surge in things like produce bags to stop people using the plastic bags when they're doing all their green groceries shopping," he said.

"Also things like beeswax wraps which eliminate the need for aluminium foil and glad wrap."

Customers use supplied paper bags or fill their own containers with bulk goods to avoid plastic and reduce food waste.

"You can buy however much you need, you don't need to buy a kilo of something when you only need 100 grams," Mr Frost said.

Sustainability not a fad, retailers say

Emma Daly rebranded her Fremantle store earlier this month to focus on zero-waste living.

She said consumer awareness had grown significantly in the past year, especially in the past six months.

"People are now coming into the store specifically asking about things and wanting things and already having an awareness about them, as opposed to before you'd feel a lot more customers were discovering things when they came here."

Ms Daly said people of all ages, particularly youth, came from across Perth to purchase zero-waste items.

"It's one of those trends versus fads that's just going to keep growing as people have now started to pique their interest," she said.

"People want to get further into it, want to take it further and start replacing things in their own lifestyles where they can and where it makes sense."

Ms Daly works closely with suppliers to ensure items stocked are packaged and shipped in sustainable materials such as paper and recycled newspaper instead of plastic wrapping or styrofoam.

Mr Frost expects the zero-waste movement to continue in the New Year.

"It's grown so much so I can't see why it would stop now," he said.

"More and more sustainable products coming out, people working out ways of replacing single-use plastics in their life so … I think it's going to keep growing."

West Australian shoppers will be forced to give up plastic or pay for it from next July, when a State Government ban on single-use bags takes effect.

Topics: christmas, sustainable-living, recycling-and-waste-management, community-and-multicultural-festivals, perth-6000

First posted December 25, 2017 10:39:41

Original author: Roman

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