A decision by the York Co-op to encourage customers to use recyclable bags and cut down on the number of plastic bags leaving its stores is benefiting community groups financially.

The balance of funds raised by the 10 cent charge on plastic bags after costs are deducted, is being passed back to volunteer  groups in the community.

The York tidy towns group was the first to receive a cheque under the scheme. The sale of bags in February raised $532.77 which was handed on to the group.

A spokesperson for the Co-op said that it was optimistic that the number of plastic bags used would gradually fall but for the time being it was pleased to pass on the proceeds for the benefit of the community. Since the 10 cent charge for plastic bags was introduced in February an estimated 36,750 fewer plastic bags left the store. "This is great for our environment and great for the community," she said.

Ultimately the amount of funds available were expected to diminish but other community groups with environmental  projects in mind were invited to apply, the spokesperson said.

In accepting the donation from the Co-op, Janny Harris from the tidy towns group said the money would be spent on a project to beautify the entrances to town. She invited anyone interested in helping out to contact her on 9641 2632.

TOP: CEO of the York and Districts Co-operative, Glen Scott, presents York tidy towns group representative, Janny Harris, with a cheque for $532.77 raised by the sale of plastic bags.