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Plastic less than fantastic

By Chelsea Boyle

[email protected]

It might finally be time to ditch plastic bags.

The three Wairarapa mayors are among a large number of voices supporting Wellington Mayor Justin Lester’s open letter to the government asking for the introduction of a levy on single-use plastic bags.

The letter was sent to Associate Minister for the Environment, Scott Simpson, this week, saying communities around the country were bearing an environmental and financial burden because of the bags.

It was signed by the mayors or chairs of 65 of the country’s 78 councils.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson was hugely supportive of the call, and was trying to go plastic bag free herself this month.

“One of the biggest things I have found, is that it’s about trying to form new habits,” she said.

“Every time I go to the supermarket I have to remember to make sure I have my jute bags in the back of the car, and sometimes I forget.”

Masterton District Council took the issue seriously, Mrs Patterson said.

It was still early days, but they were looking at a project that would make reusable jute bags more accessible to people in the district, she said.

They were hoping to have the new initiative ready to go by the time Conservation Week rolls around in October.

“The other thing we will be looking at as well is our own plastic rubbish bags, that we use, that our residents and ratepayers use – we are relooking at how biodegradable they are.”

Carterton Mayor John Booth said he was right behind the move to ditch single-use plastic bags.

The amount of plastic in the Pacific Ocean was a disgrace, he said.

“The sooner we get rid of one-use plastic bags the better.”

He said the reusable Boomerang Bags, made by people in Wairarapa, was a “fantastic initiative”.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier said she had canvassed the opinions of her fellow councillors who had given her the greenlight to support the open letter.

“I’m probably not the best at taking my bag to the supermarket, but I’m aiming to get better at it,” she said.

Martinborough and Featherston had both embraced Boomerang Bags, she said.

There had been a lot of support for the idea from the community, and also from local supermarkets, she said.



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