Mogo was 14 years ahead of its time with plastic bags

Fourteen years ago in 2003 the people of Mogo sought to make their town the first in NSW to kick the plastic bag habit.

In May of 2003 Sue Wisbey approached the retailers of Mogo through the Mogo Progress Association.

Sue had just read about the small town of Coles Bay in Tasmania where, with the support of their local council, the retailers of the popular tourist town had made the decision to make their town plastic bag free.

Being a committed environmentalist Sue had being looking for a way in which she could make a personal contribution towards protecting the environment. She was inspired by the efforts of the retailers of Coles Bay & decided to see if she could convince a local town or village to do the same.

Sue decided Mogo was the obvious choice in this area. The Mogo Progress Association had worked long & hard to try & maintain the village as an attractive & relaxed place to visit & the whole community had rallied to save the village from the environmental disaster of the proposed Charcoal Plant.

Sue walked the streets & talked to most of the retailers in Mogo before asking to address a meeting of the Mogo Progress Association in May.

At that meeting the MPA enthusiastically endorsed Sue’s plan to make Mogo the first plastic bag free town on the mainland.

In the following weeks there were numerous discussions & meetings with Sue devoting a lot of time to make her dream a reality. Sue did a lot of research into alternatives to plastic bags with local & national suppliers as well as using the internet to gather all the latest information.

Sue also spent a great deal of time liasing with Jim Templar from Council as well as organising the production & screen-printing of calico bags with a local supplier.

It must be emphasised that Sue received no payment for all the time & resources she committed to this project. In fact Sue actually used some of her own money to allow the production of the calico bags to commence, prior to the collection of money from all the individual retailers.

All Sue’s efforts were rewarded on September 19th with the official launch day of Mogo as a plastic bag free village. Officials attended the launch day from Planet Ark & Keep Australia Beautiful as well as Council representatives & councillors.

Mogo & the Nature Coast received national coverage in the press & on radio & TV with people ringing from as far away as Brisbane to congratulate Mogo.

Mogo became a shining example for other communities Australia wide.

The Mogo Progress Association nominated as Sue Wisbey as a candidate for the Citizen of the Year Award in 2003 and she was recognised for her work in 2004.

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