Campaign to rid town of shopping bags
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.