Plas­tic plan a waste

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Plas­tics cam­paign­ers and an Auck­land artist busy cre­at­ing a plas­tic art in­stal­la­tion for World En­vi­ron­ment Day were un­der­whelmed by the govern­ment’s “lat­est red her­ring” plan to tackle plas­tic pol­lu­tion.

“We al­ready have fan­tas­tic leg­isla­tive tools avail­able to tackle our plas­tic waste, like bot­tle de­posits and a plas­tic bag ban, but the govern­ment just isn’t step­ping up,” Kiwi Bot­tle Drive plas­tics cam­paigner Holly Dove said.

“In­stead it’s al­low­ing the in­dus­try that is cre­at­ing the prob­lem to pro­vide false so­lu­tions and get away with the bare min­i­mum. It’s a red her­ring, and it’s not the so­lu­tion to our plas­tic prob­lem.”

Ms Dove and a team of vol­un­teers had spent the pre­vi­ous week help­ing Brydee Rood set up an art in­stal­la­tion — a 14m wind sock made en­tirely of sin­gle-use plas­tic bags — on Auck­land’s Eastern Viaduct for World En­vi­ron­ment Day, to raise aware­ness about plas­tic pol­lu­tion.

“We were set­ting up this morn­ing when we heard the news that the govern­ment had joined up with busi­nesses to de­clare a com­mit­ment to tackle plas­tic, which sounded great at first, but I was sad­dened to hear how un­am­bi­tious their vi­sion was,” she said.

“Our art piece, which we’ve got in­stalled for a whole week down at Auck­land’s water­front, was cre­ated to high­light the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of plas­tic on the en­vi­ron­ment, and to call on the govern­ment to take strong ac­tion on waste. This isn’t strong ac­tion. This is in­dus­try green­wash.”

Ac­cord­ing to last week’s dec­la­ra­tion, all pack­ag­ing will be re­cy­clable or com­postable by 2025, but it hadn’t ad­dressed the big­gest is­sue, which was col­lect­ing the ma­te­rial un­con­tam­i­nated and in a state where it could be re­cy­cled, Dove says.

“We need sys­tems in place to col­lect re­cy­clable ma­te­rial, oth­er­wise it will go into land­fill, or worse, end up in our oceans, which is ex­actly what’s hap­pen­ing right now,” Ms Dove said.

“With more than a bil­lion plas­tic bot­tles be­ing pro­duced glob­ally each day, we need to be cut­ting down on plas­tic, not busi­ness as usual, where we’ll find bot­tles and bags, which are al­ready re­cy­clable any­way, still clog­ging up our oceans and com­mu­ni­ties in years to come.

“We’ve no time to waste on false so­lu­tions. Let’s bring in manda­tory prod­uct stew­ard­ship and build a cir­cu­lar econ­omy that en­cour­ages re-de­sign, re­use, and in­dus­try re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

More than 30 coun­tries had taken leg­isla­tive ac­tion on sin­gle-use plas­tics by in­tro­duc­ing bot­tle de­posit schemes, which had led to re­cy­cling rates of 85 per cent-plus and re­duc­tions in lit­ter of more than 65 per cent.

“Our govern­ment has failed to en­act leg­is­la­tion, de­spite bot­tle de­posits al­ready be­ing in­cluded in the Waste Min­imi­sa­tion Act 2008,” she said. “The so­lu­tion is there — we just need to act on it.”

Peo­ple Po­ten­tial stu­dents Chyme Mane and Waitaha Yakas pa­tro­n­is­ing the cake stall.

PIC­TURE / VERONIKA REJSKOVA

Brydee Rood in­stalling her 14m art­work from plas­tic bags in Auck­land.

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