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Eco bag exchange set up for Masterton shoppers

The reusable jute shopping bags that will be available in exchange for five plastic bags at Masterton supermarkets on June 29. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

JESSICA MORRIS

Supermarket shoppers in Masterton will be able to exchange their old plastic supermarket bags for reusable jute shopping bags free of charge.

Customers at Countdown, Pak’n Save, and New World be able to exchange five plastic shopping bags for a jute bag from June 29, at Masterton supermarkets, and a Masterton District Council
pop-up stall.

Customers will be able to exchange at the checkout, or at pop-up exchange tents operating for two-hour periods at each supermarket.

The initiative is a collaboration with shared funding among the three supermarkets, Masterton District Council and Trust House.

The project will see 3300 jute bags available at each supermarket, with returned plastic bags made into reusable products in collaboration with Te Awhina House Community.

Council environmental and sustainability adviser Agnes Piatek-Bednarek told the community well-being committee this week the initiative was an important step that Masterton should be proud of.

“I think it’s very important for our own community, I do know that things are happening at an international level and a national level,” she said.

“It’s such a good story about our own community, so we should be proud of that.”

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the supermarkets were behind the idea since it was first raised a year ago.

“What was really pleasing about this was that our three big supermarkets, although one of them is a different company to the other two, they all came on board with this.

“Supermarkets are where most people get the majority of their plastic bags. It’s estimated that each adult in New Zealand uses six plastic bags per week, and for only 12 minutes, on average,” Ms Patterson said.

“Focusing on reducing bags used for grocery shopping makes sense as one of our first initiatives, but we will continue to expand our focus into other areas, including how we might be able to reduce the use of council bags used for rubbish collection.

“The timing of this initiative also enables us to help our communities do their part in reducing plastic use during Plastic Free July – a global campaign encouraging people to refuse single-use plastic during the month.”

Pop-up exchange tents will operate at Pak’n Save [9-11am], Countdown [11.30am-1.30pm], and [New World 2-4pm] on June 29.

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