Cam­paign to rid town of shop­ping bags

Waitaki Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - LEWIS TAY­LOR

A small group of Te­muka res­i­dents are cam­paign­ing to rid the town to plas­tic bags and be­lieve hand­ing out free re­us­able fab­ric al­ter­na­tives could be the an­swer.

Care­giver and am­bu­lance of­fi­cer Karen McLin­tock said the group of five keen sew­ers had been cre­at­ing the re-us­able shop­ping bags from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, to co­in­cide with the in­ter­na­tional Plas­tic Free July cam­paign.

Tack­ling one of the most com­mon items was a good place to start.

McLin­tock said the group had been us­ing re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, col­lected from op shops, to cre­ate the bags.

Old cloth­ing, cur­tains and fur­ni­ture lin­ing had all been cut up and turned into carry bags by the group, she said.

Min­istry for the En­vi­ron­ment sta­tis­tics es­ti­mate that New Zealan­ders throw ap­prox­i­mately 200,000 tonnes of plas­tic ev­ery year.

Half of this is pack­ag­ing such as plas­tic bags and plas­tic bot­tles.

McLin­tock blames overuse of plas­tic within New Zealand on busi­ness’ de­sire to cut costs wher­ever pos­si­ble.

‘‘Plas­tic bags are so cheap to pro­duce, but ex­pen­sive to clean from our en­vi­ron­ment,’’ she said.

Plas­tic bags ‘‘never de­grade’’ and kill ocean an­i­mals which eat them, McLin­tock said.

Un­der McLin­tock’s di­rec­tion, four stu­dents from Opihi Col­lege’s year 9 and 10 en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies class as­sisted with the Plas­tic Free July cam­paign.

The stu­dents made a dis­play of ma­te­ri­als that could be re­cy­cled and re-pur­posed as stor­age ma­te­ri­als. The dis­play has been set up

the old drap­ery shop at store­front on Te­muka’s King Street.

McLin­tock said get­ting young peo­ple in­volved and aware is an im­por­tant part of Plas­tic Free July.

‘‘If the kids get on it and start notic­ing the plas­tic in their house­holds, then that’s good,’’ she said.

The cam­paign co­in­cides with the an­nounce­ment this week the may­ors of Ti­maru, Wai­mate, and Macken­zie dis­tricts had all signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for the Govern­ment to im­pose a levy on plas­tic bags.

McLin­tock said the res­i­dents of Geral­dine were also ac­tively try­ing to cre­ate a plas­tic free town and had a ‘‘Boomerang Bag’’ ini­tia­tive, where res­i­dents take bags from a des­ig­nated lo­ca­tion and re­turn them once they are done.

The Te­muka bags were avail­able free of charge from the Te­muka Library, Ser­vice and In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre.

Karen McLin­tock with the stash of re­us­able bags at the Te­muka Library, Ser­vice, and In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre.

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