Pe­ti­tion calls for ban on plas­tic bags

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JES­SICA MCQUOID

An on­line pe­ti­tion to be de­liv­ered to Auck­land Coun­cil in July calls for plas­tic bags to be banned in Auck­land.

Marine bi­ol­o­gist Steph Bor­relle, 33, from Kings­land, started the pe­ti­tion in Fe­bru­ary.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had a bit of an is­sue with plas­tic bags,’’ Bor­relle says.

‘‘I find them su­per­flu­ous and un­nec­es­sary in so­ci­ety.

‘‘I work on is­lands with seabirds and so I see first-hand th­ese re­mote is­lands, which don’t have any peo­ple on them or any per­ma­nent res­i­dents, and there’s plas­tic and rub­bish all over the beaches. It makes its way into the food chain quite quickly.’’

Bor­relle re­calls watch­ing a man buy a bot­tle of drink and be­ing given a plas­tic bag to put it in. He walked out of the shop and put the bag straight in a bin.

‘‘The work­ing life of that plas­tic bag was less than a minute,’’ Bor­relle says.

That was the mo­ment that in­spired her to start the pe­ti­tion.

Her cam­paign fo­cuses on sin­gleuse plas­tic bags – the thin poly­thene bags sup­plied by su­per­mar­kets and other large re­tail­ers as op­posed to coun­cil rub­bish bags or the heavy duty plas­tic bags used in some shops.

Green Party MP Denise Roche sup­ports the pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I think what the prob­lem has been is we’ve al­ways fo­cused on the be­hav­iour of the con­sumer,’’ Roche says. ‘‘We’ve never ac­tu­ally looked at who sup­plies plas­tic bags.’’

Roche be­lieves charg­ing re­tail­ers for plas­tic bags as op­posed to just the con­sumer, and up­ping this charge over time, will make plas­tic bags in­creas­ingly unattrac­tive.

Greg Nel­son is an en­vi­ron­ment sup­port man­ager for The Ware­house.

Through its Bags for Good cam­paign the re­tailer has been charg- ing cus­tomers 10 cents per plas­tic bag since 2008.

Since the in­tro­duc­tion of the scheme the num­ber of plas­tic bags is­sued by the re­tail gi­ant has dropped by 85 per cent.

Bor­relle and her sup­port­ers will take the pe­ti­tion to Auck­land Coun­cil in July, which is world plas­tic-free month.

Speak­ing up: Steph Borelle wants to make Auck­land a plas­tic bag-free zone.

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