Market boost by parking plastic

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A Queenstown business encouraging recycling by charging customers 10 cents to use plastic bags says the gamble’s paid off.

Mediterranean Market has diverted $1965 in plastic bag fees to a Queenstown Lakes District Council recycling account since introducing the charge a year ago.

Co-owner Angela Imlach denies she’s penalising people: “It’s more guilt-free because they use the plastic bag and the money goes to a good cause.”

She says customers not wanting to pay 10c buy woven bags at cost price, use cardboard boxes that stock arrives in or bring their own bags.

Estimating 150,000 fewer plastic bags have left the store, Imlach says the initiative has been “embraced rather well – we’re a modern town, and we need to have the right image to keep our tourists coming in”.