Fewer plastic bags are finding their way to landfills and waterways thanks to an environmentally friendly initiative by a local supermarket.

Shoppers at New World Regent who use at least one reusable bag to carry their groceries home are being rewarded with a free coffee from the store's cafe, once they have made six purchases of $20 or more.

Lillian Leathem, owner and marketing manager, says the idea came from one of New World Regent's valued customers who commented on how it was such a shame people were penalised instead of being rewarded for trying to do good, such as having to pay for plastic bags.

"So being locally owned and operated, we thought we'd do something about that," she said.


Reaction has been positive.

"Overall, our customers have been very receptive. Many customers tell us how they look forward to receiving their free coffee.

"Recently we received a comment regarding our incentive programme and, because of that comment, from early November we will be taking our programme to the next level where all of our hot drinks will be served in bio-degradable cups," Mrs Leathem said.

Checkout staff make shoppers aware of the coffee offer. As a result, the store is giving away an average of 120 coffees a week.

Mrs Leathem says the programme cost has been subsidised by the reduced number of plastic bags needed; averaging 8000 to 10,000 fewer bags a week.

"Although it is still a cost to our business, we believe the impact on our environment and customer satisfaction far outweighs a monetary one."

People who don't drink coffee can choose hot chocolate or one of the teas available.

- The supermarket is giving away about 120 coffees every week and has been using 8000 to 10,000 fewer bags each week.