Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Final straw for plastic straws in the capital

Tuesday 24 April

Final straw for plastic straws in the capital

It’s the final straw for plastic straws on the Wellington waterfront, with the area now 100 percent free of them thanks to two American exchange students, Wellington City Council and Sustainable Coastlines.

US exchange students interning at Wellington City Council and Sustainable Coastlines, Heather MacDougall and Katie Timzen, have been- instrumental in a campaign to rid the waterfront of traditional plastic straws.

Katie left last year having got the ball rolling and even influenced Wagamama’s full international chain of 200 restaurants to become plastic straw free. Heather is leaving soon having achieved the pair’s dream – a perfect result – but hopes the campaign spreads further afield.

“Each year Sustainable Coastlines pick up over 10,000 plastic straws from Wellington beaches alone – putting them in the top five of items in beach clean-up audits” Heather says.

“It can take up to 200 years for a single plastic straw to break down in the ocean, and with some restaurants using up to 800 straws a week, that is taking its toll on landfills and the environment.”

The waterfront area this initiative encompasses runs from the Railway Station to Freyberg Pool, with 26 restaurants, cafes, and bars no longer using traditional plastic straws – instead opting for paper, biodegradable, and metal alternatives, or no straws at all.

Being plastic straw-free is also a condition of trade for stallholders and food trucks at Harbourside Market and along the Wellington waterfront.

Mayor Justin Lester says this is a fantastic result and he supports the environmental campaign.

“This project fits our visions of developing Wellington as an Eco City by addressing the environmental challenges we have, and investing in our natural assets to insure a greener, sustainable, and more resilient future.

“We have made a commitment to waste management and minimisation, primarily reducing the volume of rubbish that ends up in our landfills.

“It is exciting that Wellington could be the first plastic straw-free city in New Zealand. There has already been an amazing response to this initiative and now that the waterfront is 100 percent plastic straw-free, our target is the rest of the city.”

While Wellington could potentially be first in New Zealand, other cities overseas have already gone plastic straw-free, with Seattle being the most famous with its ‘Strawless in Seattle’ campaign.

The next stage of the Wellington project is to work with other organisations to encourage non-participating bars, restaurants and event organisers to join the campaign, says Infrastructure and Sustainability portfolio leader Councillor Iona Pannett.

“This initiative has been a collaborative partnership between the Council’s Waterfront team and Sustainable Coastlines, and we’re looking to invite other organisations to join the campaign to support us in the next steps.

“Casual plastic use needs to come to an end. As with plastic bags, we can't regulate the banning of plastic straws so we need to focus on education, collaboration, and participation – and public pressure is already making a difference.”

Karin Wiley from Forest & Bird has first-hand experience of the damage plastic is doing to the environment.

“It’s not just plastic straws that are an issue in the ocean – any sort of plastic is. I have done autopsies on little penguins and found large amounts of plastic in their gut, although not specifically plastic straws.

“I doubt little penguins would swallow a plastic straw because of its length but they would definitely be adversely affected by the toxins released by the plastic these straws are made from as they degrade in the water and are absorbed by the micro-organisms that are eaten by the fish the penguins feed on. The toxins contaminate and concentrate in the food chain,” adds Karin.



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>


Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>


DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>


JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>


Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>


IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>





InfoPages News Channels