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Byron Shire
December 1, 2022

Vinnies shops to end plastic-bag use

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St Vincent de Paul Society’s north coast retail operations manager, Kim Boyd (left) and president Yvonne Wynen. Photo supplied

Vinnies charity shops on the north coast will phase out single-use plastic bags from the start of new year as part of a new policy to protect the marine environment and minimise littering.

The eco-friendly policy will apply to all of the 27 Vinnies shops between Tweed Heads in the north and Laurieton in the south.

St Vincent de Paul Society’s north coast’s retail operations manager Kim Boyd said that from 1 January 2018, customers will be asked to either bring their own bags or buy one of the $3 Vinnies-branded cloth bags on sale in the shops, with proceeds used to help local people in need.

‘Discarded plastic bags are doing so much damage to our natural world, especially the marine environment of our beautiful northern coastline’, Ms Boyd said.

‘Vinnies is pleased to be in the forefront of the increasing push to end plastic bag use in retail outlets.’

North coast president of St Vincent de Paul Society, Yvonne Wynen, welcomed the move, saying Vinnies was deeply committed to the environment and sustainable practices.

‘Vinnies shops are based on the rescue and re-use of good quality clothing and household items that might otherwise have gone to landfill,’ Ms Wynen said.

‘Nor are clothing items of secondary quality wasted, as they are bundled together in our processing set-up in Goonellabah, the largest such facility in NSW, and exported to countries in Africa and to PNG where they’re sold in markets.

‘Lesser quality clothing is washed and then shredded into clean rags that are sold in 5kg or 10kg packs known as “Vinnies Bag O Rags”: these are very popular with painters, mechanics, car detailers and DIY home improvers.

‘Each year Vinnies recycles and reprocesses literally hundreds of tonnes of clothing and sundry goods that would otherwise be wasted. Along with helping the environment this earns precious funds that we use to assist people doing it tough in our region.

‘The move away from plastic bags reflects our commitment to being good environmental citizens of the North Coast’, Ms Wynen said.

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  1. People who use Vinnies are hardly likely to want to shelve out 3 bucks for a bag to take away their secondhand clothes. Nor do they all carry spare bags in case of a random desire to pick up a shirt or pair of shorts. I suggest Vinnies researches some other kind of environment-friendly bags.

    • Jon you should read a Letter to the Editor in today’s SMH (L Nelson – Vinnie’s prices ridiculous pg 19) as it would seem that the people who do shop at Op Shops today would have no trouble buying a bag.

  2. Have discussed this issue with Kim Boyd. And was told that $3 dollars was what it costed them. I mentioned that they should find other suppliers considering the how big the organization is. Obviously not equipped with proper people to cut cost and have the knowledge of what a typical Vinnies shopper is. You need to hire people who are more in touch with these communities.


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