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Ban the bags, says Green MP

Ban the bags, says Green MP

Green MP Mike Ward is calling on seaside towns and tourist destinations to follow the lead of Tasmanian township Coles Bay by becoming Australasia's first plastic bag-free zone.

The Green's Local Government spokesperson applauded the Coles Bay community and recommended a similar approach for New Zealand communities, tourist operations and local authorities.

Coles Bay has stopped using plastic bags altogether, with the support of all the town's businesses, and replaced them with permanent calico bags or temporary paper bags.

"I say 'well done' to the community of Coles Bay, especially because this has come from a community initiative - they've all got together with their local businesses and put a stop to plastic bags," said Mr Ward.

"While New Zealand urgently needs to work out what to do with the 80 million kilograms of waste we throw out each week, reducing that waste at the source has to be the first option.

"Small-town New Zealand prides itself on our beautiful surroundings - yet how often is that vista ruined by a plastic bag wafting in on the wind?"

Businesses in the popular whale-watching town are supplying residents with calico shopping bags and charging tourists 25 cents for high-quality reusable paper bags.

"The comprehensive nature of the Cole's Bay campaign is appealing from a convenience as well as a conservation standpoint," said Mr Ward.

"It will be an interesting point of difference for the visitors to the little resort town as well as a business opportunity for bag manufacturers and tourist operators.

"Calico bags will go on spreading the message about Coles Bay and Coles Bay business long after the plastic bags have been discarded.

"Plastic bags may last forever but the message lasts longer on calico" he said.

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