Fremantle Councils Missed Opportunity with Plastic Bags

plastic bag smile1

If Fremantle business don’t want plastic bags why do they have them?

If customers didn’t want plastic bags they would not use them.

So if what the council says is true that business and customers don’t want them then the bags would not be in shops and customers would chose not to take them. If the community feeling was so strong this issue would have sorted its self out by now

We don’t need another level of government making laws. It was not even a unanimous vote by council. even the councillors don’t all agree on it.

Banning plastic bags in Fremantle would achieve nothing, Fremantle’s retail is dying as it is, how many people in Fremantle shop outside Freo where the ban would stop. So just bringing back their plastic bags from other suburbs.

It’s ridiculous to think the plastic bag is legal on the east side of East St and illegal on the west side of it.

The efforts should be placed making the bags ban for the whole state or country.

While the council is preaching why do they use single use plastic bags in their own street bins with no garbage separation?

Why does the council not have separated garbage for commercial operations in town instead everything goes into one bin for land fill I guess.

Perhaps they should get their own house in order first before dictating to the world how it should be?

America already has a screwed up system with county’s making their own laws and enforcing them, lets no go down that path and leave law making to the State Government. Its starting to look more and more political the actions of Fremantle council and less and less like a local government to take care of services and amenities to the resident and rate payers of Fremantle.

Over the last couple of days there has been a bit chat about the state government not pushing through the COF plastic bag ban.

Peter Katsambanis MLC has said  the businesses he has spoken to are not in favour, hes probably better off to not to name them so they don’t have to suffer any backlash from some of the extremists. 

Bid to block plastic ban irks councils I’m always amazed to hear councillors say how they speak for the majority especially when so few people actually vote in local elections. If the MLC is so out of touch with community wants/concerns etc, again I ask why so many people use plastic bags and so many businesses have them, if community will was as strong as they make out, this issue would be self regulating with customers refusing plastic bags or not returning to shops that use them, businesses not wanting to lose customers would naturally change their operation to keep customers happy, but that’s not what happening, so who’s out of touch with what the real majority want?

Personally I’m all for changing the plastic bags to a better product, but I’m against the COF starting its own little state by making up its own laws, especially when the law they put in place will have little to no practical outcome. Fremantle banning bags will no practical measurable outcome for the environment, its just another cheap political stunt, some banner waving to distract from real issues the cities has.

Getting to the point of the post, the Missed Opportunity.

The council and mayor Brad Pettitt instead of pushing for a law to fine/punish business for not using the biodegradable bags, could have taken this idea and turn it more to a marketing opportunity. Give Fremantle another Brand, It would even open them up to run a competition for logos, branding, marketing etc.

Taking something like the BID, and using a Fremantle branded Biodegradable bag to sell to businesses in town, with a simple QR barcode on the bag that could link back to a website promoting all the business that have Opted to join Fremantle’s councils save the ocean or cut plastic bag usage or whatever program. It could be used as a tool to promote Fremantle businesses that are ecco friendly or ethical.

Giving consumers and informed choice of where they could chose to shop and businesses a choice of whether they take part or not. More carrot less whip.

Then there are the added benefits to business that bulk purchasing would lower the cost to the business, as collective buying would enable you to bargain a better price for bags, giving business a lower cost than them going out and sourcing them for themselves. Possible seasonal marketing programs, shops using the brand to promote their own business etc. The city using it to promote events etc.

Instead of education and encouragement the council has chosen the whip over the carrot to drive their ideology with Fremantle businesses and wasted time and resources with a pissing contest with the state government. Which smells more of more of cheap nasty party politics than good environmental outcomes. Fremantle’s councils true weakness.

Fremantle Council Whats the Real Deal on Plastic Bag Ban?

Fremantle’s Plastic Bag Saga


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  1. Great post Mark. Keep running with it.

    The Mayor and several of the Pettitt Greens mob are using their position at Fremantle council to try and drive policy on a broader scale. Creating a thin of the wedge. Attempting to sneak green policy in through the back door because it doesn’t have wider and broader appeal in the wider community. It was no surprise to see Kate Emery once again writing that opinion piece as it appeared in the West Australian during the week.

    They are trying to get WALGA to endorse this view now.

    It’s funny you mention the CoF’s own behavior, and their inability to lead by example. Maybe they should reform their OWN policy first and work with WALGA to get broad based support for single use garbage bags across their OWN administrations. Getting back to the traditional council mantra of ‘Rates, Roads and Rubbish’ is actually a worthy pursuit if they even bothered to improve on their model. Clearly this isn’t the case.

    Either they don’t care, they don’t have the ability, or their too interested in wasting time and ratepayers money pursuing their own ego driven political agendas and playing politics.

    Who needs this silly law, when freedom for individual’s to choose already exists. They could actually drive a better outcome, which is why I have said that you should pursue an option to interested parties in the community and possibly back through Katsambanis’ office.

  2. Joey Starlin says:

    Yes. Brilliant article as always Mark. Very insightful comments from Matthew too.

  3. freoishome says:

    I have said quite few times here that if you put forward ideas, instead of just criticising COF makes for a much better blog.

    I was reading your rant thinking “Mark not again, not another rant, why have you titled this missed opportunity?”. But I persevered. I’m glad I got as far as “Getting to the point… But you have no idea how close I got to abandoning it!

    All the crap before that sentence was unnecessary. As such just weakens the rest of the post, which has something thought provoking.

    I don’t think it is a simple issue. I am not going to critique your thoughtfulness any more than I care to rant about CoF thoughtfulness and considered action. Glad to see another dimension in the debate.


    • Mark says:

      Thanks, I think

    • Good reply Mark. He’s ranting at you for ranting at the council again, for not thinking through their implementation, as if your not allowed to critises the local government and their policy, and still not offering up any original input to the debate.

      Paul is obviously someone who believes in Pettitt, the Greens and forcing people in the city of Fremantle into not using plastic bags despite it being rejected over and over again. He must think Fremantle is an island.

      Paul, maybe you should put forward an alternative and add something to the debate instead of ragging on someone who is obviously trying to create an alternative range of ideas. My understanding of Mark’s idea here is that is achieves the same outcome without having more rules and regulations and actually creates incentive and a cohesive business environment in Fremantle and encourages shoppers to act and promote the idea.

      Maybe you should get with the program and help it instead of jumping on everyone who doesn’t agree with the CoF poorly conceived and implemented ideas. For a change!

      • Mark says:

        Personally my so called rant is laying the ground for the missed opportunity, its hard to say you disagree with out stating the issue and the reason why. If that’s ranting so be it.
        We have enough people making rules/laws/proclamations with out adding another layer of ineptitude to the mounting problems generally referred to as BS
        I love how the mayor and supporters refer to the nanny state over a bike helmet laws to protect your brain, but banning plastic in the tiny area of fremantle actually has any real impact on the actual problems, apart from the mayor and cronies, using rate payer funds to drive their little political issues and interest.
        Self interest or really measurable outcomes? I bet there is no KPI for this policy?
        Is that a rant or a POV I can’t tell anymore?

      • freoishome says:

        Like I have said before to Mark applies as much to you, Matt, as a budding pollie, better to put forward ideas as Mark has done on this occasion, than to constantly criticise others, as you are now doing to me!
        Plastic is ubiquitous, but sadly isn’t the great substance we all thought it was when Tupperware was introduced. How do we replace it with something that is safer to our health, and to the flora and fauna we are the custodians off for the next generations? It seems glass is a much safer substance to use for food storage and microwave cooking, with the bonus of not tainting the flavour. There are better carrier bags than the thin supermarket bags; on the other hand replacing the rolls of small fresh food bags is more difficult, paper bags have issues as well from their manufacturing process and not anything like as easy to add hundreds of them to an easy to use roll; so many people now don’t use them they add such produce loosely to their baskets, but can create interminable queues at tills!
        By the way I have had a number of CoF issues I have been very vocal about, but I talk about the issue rather than the people. During the Mayor’s recent reports from his trip tp Europe I have responded several times with comments and questions. You haven’t.

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