Go­ing plas­tic bag-free for a day

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

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.’’

Photo: JESS LEE

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.

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