Enough of naff bags, al­ready

A Palmer­ston North com­mu­nity group is do­ing its bit to rein in pol­lu­tion of the world’s oceans.

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENVIRONMENT -

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.

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