Enough of naff bags, already
A Palmerston North community group is doing its bit to rein in pollution of the world’s oceans.
The World Economic Forum reports that the world’s oceans may contain more plastic debris than fish by 2050. Plastic bags significantly contribute to this projection.
In New Zealand, 40,000 bags go to landfill every hour – about 1.6 billion a year. That’s the equivalent of dumping 192,000 barrels of oil annually.
Where they can be recycled in New Zealand, plastic bags are downcycled into things such as park benches.
Otherwise, the bags block stormwater systems, jam recycling processing units, and clog the intestinal tracts of seabirds and other animals. They also break down into microparticles that attract persistent organic pollutants (POPS) which enter the food chain.
Carrying Our Future (CoF) is a Palmerston North community group that supports alternatives to single-use plastic bag production, consumption, and disposal.
A public forum at the Palmerston North City Library launched the group in June last year and all the businesses on George St later supported the ‘Single-Use Plastic Bag Free Fridays on George’ where customers are encouraged to bring their own re-usable bags every Friday.
After making a submission for a nation-wide levy on single-use plastic bags last year, a Single-Use Plastic Bag Forum was held at Massey University with Massey University’s Political Ecology Research Centre (PERC). This resulted in a steering committee for a New Zealand Product Stewardship Council.
City shoppers are able to
In New Zealand, 40,000 bags go to landfill every hour – about 1.6 billion a year.
borrow a re-usable bag from CoF’s ‘bag box’ situated in the George St entrance to City Library from this Friday May 27. After using it, they are asked to wash the bag and return it to the box. This is a project created by the community for the community. The bags are made by volunteers at City Library with training provided by SuperGrans; the box materials were provided by local businesses and made by MenzShed; the fabric was donated by local businesses and community members; sewing machines were funded by PERC; and extra sewing machines and work space provided by the library.
The reusable bag box launch takes place at 6pm during Friday’s night market in City Library. CoF is seeking additional volunteers, and also organisations and schools interested in setting up their own bag-making events. Enquiries to Trisia Farrelly, 356 9099 facebook.com/CarryingOurFuture/
Regular Carrying Our Future volunteer Angela Trasey and first-timer Diana Shafieva make re-usable bags at City Library for members of the public to borrow.