The inspiration

Landfill showing plastic bags

47% of wind borne litter escaping from landfills is plastic, mainly plastic bags.

In April 2003, Coles Bay, a small community in Tasmania, became the first town in Australia to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, effectively saving 350,000 plastic bags in the first year. Since then, 13 other towns and suburbs in Australia have joined Coles Bay in becoming plastic-bag free.

The success of these communities empowered Australia’s major grocery stores and retailers to join the campaign, encouraging consumers to buy re-usable bags and reduce plastic-bag consumption. As a result Australia has reduced plastic shopping bag use by 1.5 billion bags annually since 2002, and 81% of Australians now use plastic bag alternatives.

Building on these initiatives, state and federal governments are currently working in conjunction with retailers to phase-out single-use plastic bags in Australia by the end of 2008.

Inspired by this, Tracey Saxby and Anna Young have created Greener Footprints to start the revolution of plastic shopping bag reduction in Canada.

The vision

  • To dramatically reduce plastic shopping bag use in Canada.
  • To provide businesses, communities, and governments with alternative and creative solutions to reduce their impact on the environment.


  • By providing retail outlets with reusable shopping bags, merchandising to encourage consumers to buy them, and educating both staff and the general public with educational brochures and posters.
  • By establishing stores that are 100% plastic shopping bag free – so that when people pay they can choose not to take a plastic bag, or they can buy a reusable one for a minimal price.
  • Work with retailers and the community to establish plastic bag free towns across in Canada, so thousands of people can have their first plastic bag free shopping experience. This will create huge publicity for the town and the concept at a local, provincial, and national level.
  • By creating public awareness through our education campaign – Stop. Think Green.