More than 200,000 bags were collected in the month of October in support of the Coles Plastic Bag Challenge.

Schools, businesses and individuals were urged to collect their unwanted plastic bags in October and place them inside new recycling bins in Coles stores nationwide, with all proceeds donated to Junior Landcare and the Coles School Gardens Grants Program.

In total, 229,712 bags were collected by more than 300 participants during the four week challenge, with the majority of bags being collected by 185 primary and secondary schools across Australia.

Principal of St Paul Apostle North Primary School, Christine White, said the Coles Plastic Bag Challenge was an opportunity to educate children about the importance of recycling and caring for the environment.

“The Coles Landcare Plastic Bag challenge has been an excellent springboard for students’ environmental investigations into important issues such as food packaging and recycling. It has helped students realise that individual action does make a difference.”

Junior Landcare spokesperson Sheena Martin said it was a great effort to ensure 200,000 plastic bags wouldn’t impact on our fragile environment.

“Over the course of only a few short weeks we have managed to recycle over 200,000 plastic bags. Imagine the difference we could make every day if everyone switched to using reusable bags all year round.”

Coles has funded the Coles School Garden Grants Program in partnership with Junior Landcare since 2008, and has supported more than 450 schools around Australia to establish native, waterwise and vegetable gardens as part of their environmental studies.