Petition calls for ban on plastic bags
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.