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Mayor supports plastic bag free initiatives

10 May 2018

Mayor supports plastic bag free initiatives

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Gisborne’s Countdown supermarket is one of 10 pilot stores to phase out single use plastic bags this month and Mayor Meng Foon supports any local initiative to “flag the bag.”

“Congratulations to the businesses taking up this initiative. With China no longer taking our plastic bags for recycling, we need to get back to using reusable bags and containers.

“It’s up to the community whether we make a vision of plastic container free Gisborne a dream or a reality.”

Countdown’s pilot stores will lead the way for the remaining 172 Countdown stores nationwide, as they roll out the initiative by the end of this year.

It is expected to take 350 million bags per year out of the environment.

New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion plastic bags a year and on average a plastic bag is used for 12 minutes before it enters the waste stream.

Local figures show plastics increased by 7.6 percent to 19.9 percent of overall waste composition between May 2004 to March 2017.

There are a number of local initiatives to reduce single use plastics and encourage people to change their habits.

Volunteer group Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti (PBFT) formed in March 2016 and works with local businesses, council and the community to reduce the use of single use plastics.

Their ‘Flag the Bag’ reusable jute bags are sold at a number of Gisborne stores.

PBFT held events aligned with the Plastic Free July initiative for the last two years, including a 24-hour bag-a-thon to make reusable bags in collaboration with Ka Pai Kaiti. This will happen again this year.

Here are some simple changes you can make to avoid single use plastic:

  • Take a reusable water bottle with you and fill it with tap water instead of buying water.
  • Use a reusable coffee cup
  • Keep reusable shopping bags and produce bags in your car.
  • Say no to takeaway cutlery and straws – dine in instead or bring your own containers.
  • Say no to plastic bags.
  • Use containers to store food rather than cling wrap.