Retailers in the village of Chillingham in northern NSW have been working with Tweed Shire Council to rid the village of plastic check-out bags.

Tweed Shire Council says the village is now the first officially declared plastic bag free town in northern NSW and its efforts highlight the simple steps required to turn any town or village plastic bag free.

Buck Buchanan from Chillingham retailer Banana Cabana and Bush Tucker Garden said making the shift to reusable bags isn’t as hard as many retailers make out.

“It’s the sort of thing any village can do, with a little co-ordination between retailers and a bit of co-operation from customers,” Buck said.

Chillingham is a popular rest spot for weekend travellers, and putting an end to plastic check-out bags in the village will mean approximately 10,000 less bags ending up in the local landfill and environment each year.

Mayor of the Tweed Councillor Warren Polglase said that eliminating single-use plastic check-out bags complements the community’s efforts to improve village sustainability.

“This is just another step in Chillingham’s journey to create an environmentally responsible and economically resilient community,” Councillor Polglase said.

The move to make Chillingham plastic bag free is a response to a council decision in October 2009 to investigate options for plastic bag reduction in the Tweed. Council provided funding for 3500 bags, and assisted with their production.

Through the first plastic bag free village project, the council hopes to develop a model for other villages and towns to follow.

If a national ban was placed on plastic check-out bags it could result in four billion fewer plastic bags ending up in Australia’s landfills and environment every year.

South Australia banned single-use polyetheylene plastic bags on 4 May 2009, with all retail outlets affected by the ban.

These moves are the result of a five-year national campaign for the eradication of single-use plastic check-out bags. It is also part of an international push to reduce the hundreds of billions of plastic bags that get used globally every year.