No plastic? No worries. Rhodes Watson has been spearheading an affordable solution with a local twist.
No plastic? No worries. Rhodes Watson has been spearheading an affordable solution with a local twist. Trish Bowman

2000 customers in the bag for Livingstone bulk buy scheme

IT'S a simple idea, but Rhodes Watson hopes it will have a big impact.

As of July 1 with the implementation of no more single-use plastic shopping bags, the community-minded Livingstone resident has been spearheading an affordable solution with a local twist.

After lengthy research, Rhodes put the idea of Livingstone-specialised calico shopping bags to the community.

He said the benefit would be bags which "will last for years".

"There's more to the shire than just the coast," he said.

"I want artwork on it that depicts the shire.

"I can see Great Keppel Island, pineapples, Byfield ferns, cattle and the singing ship."

With more than 1500 pledges in less than 24 hours (and 2000 by early yesterday), Rhodes says he has also been approached by many local businesses wanting to support the initiative.

 

Rhodes Watson with Cr Brad Carter at the Australia Day Awards held at Gracemere.
Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Rhodes Watson was presented with a Community Service award at the Australia Day Awards in 2012. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka ROK260112aawards7

"My goal is 3000 bags, but I think it will be more like 5000," he said.

"The problem is, small businesses can't afford to buy all this stuff at an affordable price.

"So by doing it this way, it will be cheaper for them as well."

With the community at the forefront of everything he does, Rhodes says he's looking forward to the day when people are walking around and seeing the shire bag and thinking, "Hey, that's our bag".

"This project is about us putting our hands together to work together to solve a small issue," he said.

"This is how we build community. Think about it, if you are walking down the street and you see the same community-organised bag, you know that person also was involved with the idea."

Rhodes says the price will be down to $1.26 per bag with an order of 3000 bags.

"By getting this price down, families can afford to buy the six-bag minimum," he said.

"It'll cost them less than $12 for six bags that will last years."

In 2009 and 2010, Rhodes ran a community bulk-buy solar group initiative that saw members of the community put solar on their roof for cost.

 

Rhodes Watson from Bangalee on his roof with solar panels and hot water. Rhodes will be speaking about bulk solar system buying at a forum in Rockhampton at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre in October.      Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin   ROK121011ssolar2
Rhodes ran a community bulk-buy solar group initiative that saw members of the community get solar on their roof for cost. Sharyn O'Neill

He discovered that solar panels could be bought in bulk at a discount, so he formed a group with others keen on turning to solar power and managed to talk deals with installers.

The group of 48 collectively saved about $900,000 on their systems.

"Sometimes I have good ideas, like the solar panels, and I think the bags is another good one," Rhodes said.

Interested?

  • If you're interested in buying any bags, email livingstonebags@gmail.com.
  • Send an email to this address with the number of bags you would like, minimum of six.
  • The dimensions of the bag are:
  • Size: 31x35x19cm
  • Handles:2.5x55cm
  • 100gm
  • 100 per cent cotton fabric