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Sage Gets a Sack Full: Changing the plastic conversation

H. Eugenie Sage Gets a Sack Full: Changing the plastic conversation

As it enters its third active week the initiative, plastic2parliament, shows no sign of slowing down. Members have delivered more than 240 letters and parcels of non-recyclable plastics to MPs since mid October, with 110 going directly to the office of Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage this week alone.

“I’m astonished, but not surprised, by the swift interest people have shown in joining me in this letter writing to MPs in Parliament via Freepost” said Wade Bishop, the initiator of plastic2parliament. “In just 4 weeks membership of the Facebook Group has grown beyond 740 and seems to just grow faster all the time. People are frustrated about plastics they just can’t avoid in their lives and frustrated by the presiding doctrine that plastic is a ‘consumer choice’ issue when it simply isn’t.” he said.

The letters buried in swollen envelopes ask MPs for the impossible: to put aside party politics to address plastic waste and pollution collectively with the interests of New Zealand and the world at large their top priority:

“I am writing to you as a deeply concerned citizen of New Zealand (and Earth), not as a National, Labour, NZ First, or Green or Act Party supporter, and including this parcel of plastics because:

Oil companies are investing US$180 billion globally, right now, in new plastic plants and upgrades to increase production by 40% before 2030, moving from 6% of oil production into plastic up to 20%. (This while they invest US$4.74 trillion in new oil and gas exploration). Plastic is not a consumer problem – it is a production issue requiring political solutions. Regulation – not voluntary industry programmes.

NZ currently imports roughly 300 000 tonnes of virgin plastic resin of which 60% or more is used specifically for packaging products, most of which are non-recyclable. We should be targeting reductions in both these areas..

I support the Government’s proposed priority product stewardship scheme changes to the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 for beverage packaging, single-use plastic packaging, for consumer goods, and farm plastics, but also ask you to work to make plastic waste minimisation a priority within your Party.”

Globally over 90% of the plastics ever produced have not been recycled and the majority of plastics produced are not recyclable for one reason or another. Recycling alone is never going to solve the single-use plastics problem.

“We need waste minimisation policy to prioritise and measure reduction of plastic use first in order to meaningfully tackle plastic pollution.” Wade Bishop said. “The producers of plastic resins and packaging must be regulated to reduce and then stop single-use and avoidable plastics from coming into the economic system – and then the environment – in the first place. I’ll gladly welcome any person who wants to join me in taking this message directly to MPs in a creative way that clearly illustrates the problems we face with these plastics.” he said.



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