Survey finds residents support plastic bag levy, but will likely still use them
The results are in, and the people are pushing for a charge on plastic bags.
But most of those same people will still use the bags regardless of any levy.
It has been a mixed bag of results in the Marlborough District Council's survey on use of plastic bags.
Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil said the results suggested there could be unintended consequences if bags were removed overnight.
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"Charging for bags would likely change people's behaviour eventually, but how much change we'd see would depend how much was being charged for the bags," he said.
More than 90 per cent of New Zealand city and district mayors signed an open letter last month calling on central government to impose a plastic bag levy.
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett was a signatory to the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) letter, which was sent to Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson.
To gauge the views of the region, the council launched a survey and garnered more than 900 responses.
It found about 70 per cent did not bother to take plastic supermarket bags to use on a return trip to the shop.
But 50 per cent did take their own re-usable bags to the supermarket when shopping.
The survey confirmed virtually everyone re-used the plastic bag at least once, mostly for wrapping up rubbish.
Three-quarters conceded that plastic bags could be seen littering the environment in Marlborough.
About half of respondents thought a reward scheme would encourage people to use re-usable bags, while almost as many believed that introducing a charge for plastic bags would be the incentive that would get them using re-usable bags.
And most people, more than 90 per cent, would like the opportunity to recycle their plastic bags.
"Charge or not, I would gladly recycle them if i only knew how or where," one respondent said.
"Hundreds of cities charge or ban, so get with the program," wrote another.
For the full results of the survey, visit the council website.
- The Marlborough Express