Grey Lynn leads the charge against plastic bags
Plastic bags are set to disappear from Grey Lynn’s streets – but for one day only.
Almost 40 retailers in the suburb are doing away with them on July 31 for Plastic Bag Free Day.
Environmentalist organisation Grey Lynn 2030 is leading the charge. Members created a new group, Waste Away, to organise the event. Both Countdown supermarkets in the suburb are joining the campaign, Waste Away’s Colinda Rowe says.
‘‘We hope it makes their customers think about reducing single-use plastic bags.
It’s fantastic and we’re optimistic that more people will bring their own bags in the future,’’ she says.
The Williamson Ave and Richmond Rd supermarkets will give customers a free reusable bag when they spend $50 or more, as well as putting up signs about the cause.
Rowe says the group was inspired after meeting marine biologist Steph Borrelle earlier this year.
Borrelle started a petition opposing plastic bags in February. Her campaign focuses on single-use plastic bags – the thin polythene bags supplied by supermarkets and other large retailers.
The petition has gathered more than 3200 signatures.
July is World Plastic-Free Month. Rowe says the plastic bag free day coincides with Borrelle handing her petition to the council.
Rowe says plastic bags take about 1000 years to biodegrade.
‘‘With this dreadful weather at the moment it’s very frustrating seeing the plastic swirling around in the wind and getting caught in the stormwater drains. We are horrified at where this pollution will end up.
‘‘Plastic bags are an item we can easily do without,’’ she says.
Rowe says the bags are made of fossil fuels – a limited resource.
‘‘Up to 100,000 marine life die every year around the world because of plastic bags,’’ she says.
Grey Lynn 2030 says every square kilometre of the ocean has about 74,000 pieces of plastic.
One of the group’s first initiatives was an e-waste collection day in 2009 which saw 18 tonnes of e-waste diverted from going to a landfill.
Countdown Richmond Rd store manager Michael Ravlich says the supermarket will provide a plastic bag recycling bin behind checkouts ‘‘for anyone wanting to rid their cupboards of plastic bags for good’’.
Enviro warrior: Marine biologist Steph Borrelle earlier this year started a petition to end plastic bag use in Auckland. Her actions inspired Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away to organise Plastic Bay Free Day for July 31.