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Bagging growing plastic waste dilemma

13 Mar 2017 10:49 am

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New World Warkworth has encouraged shoppers to use reusable bags by introducing a rebate in December last year.
Warkworth resident Rachel Callender is calling for an initiative to reduce the use of plastic bags in the Warkworth area.

Rachel aired her thoughts on the Talking Warkworth Facebook page and has raised the concept with One Warkworth manager Murray Chapman.

“Globally, plastic bags are an ecological disaster,” she says. “We live on a river, near the coast, so it’s a no-brainer that we need to be involved in finding a solution.”

She suggests introducing more reusable bags or a ‘single use bag tax’ in local stores, as used in a number of European countries.

Some have already gone a step further with the founder of Zero Waste Matakana, Josie Jackson, starting a group to make reusable bags for the community.

The group of around 12 people first met at the Matakana Community Hall in January and with four sewing machines, made around 25 bags each.

“It’s going well so far and a number of people in the group have stopped using plastic bags,” Josie says.
The bags are made out of pre-loved material and are distributed to friends and family. The aim in future is to leave the bags in shops around the area.

Meanwhile, New World Warkworth has got behind reusable bags by introducing a five cent rebate for every reusable bag a customer presents at the checkout.

New World Warkworth says there has been a definite increase in the use of reusable bags in the store since the scheme was introduced last December.

They have also received positive comments on customer feedback forms about the initiative.

Plastic bags can also be returned to New World Warkworth where they are sent to an Australian company that uses them to make plastic benches.

Over one billion plastic bags go to landfill every year in New Zealand.

In August 2015, a petition was presented to Parliament with 16,265 signatures asking the government to phase out single use plastic bags.

However, Environment Minister Nick Smith said the move could not be justified, given that plastic bags made up just 1.5 per cent of litter in New Zealand.

In 2014, the United Kingdom reduced single use plastic bag usage by 85 per cent after introducing a levy of about 10 cents per bag.

For those interested in making reusable bags with Zero Waste Matakana, meetings are held at the Matakana Community Hall, on the third Thursday of the month at 7pm.

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