City musician kicks off proposal to bag plastic carriers for good

Last updated 09:00 03/05/2014
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Palmerston North musician, singer and teacher Jennifer Moss has issued a challenge to rid the city of plastic bags.

She will present a petition signed by 119 people to the city council next week, asking it to take the lead in discouraging the use of non-biodegradable bags.

This week the council stopped collecting plastic bags in recycling bins because they pose difficulties at the materials recovery centre and because it could not sell them.

Moss said she had long considered herself a greenie.

But the change in council policy was the catalyst for her to launch her dream for people to stop bringing plastic bags into the community at all.

"There's really no reason why it can't happen. There are alternatives.

"It takes 500 to 1000 years for normal plastic bags to break down, and that's quite disturbing."

Moss said she had not developed a step-by-step plan on how to achieve the goal.

"But we have to start somewhere.

"It could be a matter of civic pride - it is an incredibly worthy thing to be pursuing."

Council rubbish and recycling asset engineer Natasha Simmons said changing habits and refusing to use plastic shopping bags was the ultimate prevention of the disposal problem.

The first week of the new regime had seen a significant reduction in the number of plastic bags being collected.

Because it was such a significant change, the council was providing a two-month grace period, issuing friendly reminders only until the end of June, before warning those who persisted that they risked losing their collection service.

Simmons believed any efforts to completely ban the use of plastic bags would have to be nationally co-ordinated.

"But I do intend to engage with supermarkets and other retailers locally, to encourage them to do something to help reduce the use of plastic bags."

Meanwhile, the council had made a formal request to Auckland-based Enviroreel plastics recycler for more information about whether it could accept bags collected in Palmerston North.

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- Manawatu Standard

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