Jane Turner and her team at the Gertrude and Alice bookshop and café in Hall Street, Bondi, have never really given out plastic bags to customers. As she recounts, “It’s just the way we do things because of who we are; it’s our philosophy, and that’s how it’s always been.” They prefer to think of the environmental and cost savings, and offering an alternative. They make the choice is easy for customers. There’s a recycled Gertrude and Alice-branded brown paper bag available, or a reused plastic bag that staff or customers might have donated or with every sale over $100 customers are given a large Gertrude and Alice-designed cloth bag.
According to Jane, many people come in with books to sell back or recycle in green bags or other tote bags and they never seem to want those back, so those bags get recycled until handles break or they split under the weight of books. People don’t really ask for bags anymore. Jane says that nobody really asks for a plastic bag in their store. The only days they may be asked for one are when it’s raining or when customers are on push bikes. Then customers might ask for a plastic bag to help protect their book or card purchases from the rain or during the journey home.
As Jane says, “I think Bondi people are pretty aware of the impact of plastic bags and they’ll say “No thanks, I don’t need it”, to which we’ll reply “Good on you!” Nowadays, there’s almost never an expectation of receiving a plastic bag, which is a good thing.”