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Plastic bag-free Collingwood is brilliant

17 August 2005

Plastic bag-free Collingwood is absolutely brilliant

Collingwood's plastic bag-free declaration is absolutely brilliant, Parliament's waste-free campaigner Green MP Mike Ward says.

The Golden Bay Bag Ladies have campaigned for plastic bags to be banned from the Bay for some time, a call consistently supported by Nelson-based Mr Ward and Green Co-Leader Rod Donald, who joined them on their anti-bag action on Takaka Hill last New Years. All the retailers of Collingwood have now agreed to stop giving out plastic shopping bags and to offer reusable cloth bags instead. Yesterday Helen Clark and Damien O'Connor joined the Bag Ladies in declaring Collingwood the country's first plastic bag-free town.

"Succeeding in slashing plastic bag consumption by 50 percent across the whole of Golden Bay is an impressive achievement by the Bag Ladies, but Collingwood's new commitment is a first for New Zealand and a landmark in the campaign to cut the nation's waste mountain," Mr Ward says.

"This has been the outcome of a considerable effort and expenditure by Nicola Basham and Nicole Parr, supported by a remarkable community. It is the kind of effort made necessary by the lack of teeth in the country's Waste Strategy. While 800 million plastic bags comprise a relatively small portion of the waste stream, they are particularly messy and pose a threat to sea mammals and children.

"They are also easy to avoid once we have un-learned the habits of several decades and rediscovered the comfort and convenience of the personal shopping bag or basket."

Mr Ward's Waste-Free Private Member's Bill makes provision for imposing an Irish-style levy on every one-trip plastic shopping bag, with the money being available for waste minimisation activities from a dedicated waste authority.

"What the Bag Ladies have shown is that with the right encouragement, Kiwis can care," Mr Ward says.

Plastic bag-free Golden bay
www.plasticshoppingbagfree.org.nz

ENDS

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