Going plastic bag-free for a day
Retailers are banishing plastic for one day to make shoppers think twice before they bag their goods.
Grey Lynn 2030’s working group Waste Away is rallying residents and almost 40 retailers to do away with plastic bags today for Plastic Bag Free Day.
Both of the suburb’s Countdown supermarkets joined the bag-free day campaign last year.
Grey Lynn 2030 chairwoman Colinda Rowe says the event is a great chance to encourage consumers to change their habits.
‘‘Plastic bags are used for an average of 15 minutes and then can take up to 1000 years to decompose in a landfill,’’ she says.
Rowe recommends keeping reusable bags in your car to get in the habit of using them.
But swapping out the plastic will be harder this year thanks to the Queensland fruit fly.
Grey Lynn was put under a fruit and vegetable lockdown after the fruit fly was found in February.
Customers can only take produce out of the zone if it is purchased from an approved retailer and is kept sealed in a plastic bag until they have left the affected area.
The rest of customers’ shopping can be carried out plastic-free.
Waste Away volunteers have been encouraging Grey Lynn shoppers and handing out spot prizes today.
The group was inspired to get behind the cause by marine biologist Steph Borrelle who started a petition opposing plastic bags in February last year.
It gathered more than 4000 signatures.
Borrelle’s campaign focuses on single-use plastic bags – the thin polythene bags supplied by supermarkets and other large retailers. The Kingsland resident presented it to Auckland Council in July last year.
The council is now establishing a working group to shape a draft agreement on minimising plastic bag and packaging waste.
Green Party waste spokesperson Denise Roche is leading the revolt against plastic bags nationally and canvassed the country for support from consumers and retailers in May.
Rowe says these developments are encouraging.
‘‘We can do it on a small, local scale but they can do it on a much larger scale which is what it’s going to need if we’re going to follow other cities’ lead to become plasticfree.’’
Grey Lynn 2030 chairwoman Colinda Rowe is encouraging people to use reusable bags when shopping in Grey Lynn today to support Plastic Bag Free Day.