Week 19 – Plastic bags

I avoid using disposable plastic shopping bags where I can but cannot say I am living anywhere near ‘plastic free’. Recently I became coordinator for a campaign to stop the use of disposable plastic bags in supermarkets in my city and realised it was time to be more aware and proactive about my use of plastic.

What I discovered

I went to a presentation by a university lecturer and a Green Party MP about plastic and in particular plastic bags. I learned that the average plastic shopping bag is used for about 12 minutes. One trillion (1,000,000,000,000) are thrown away each year, and hundred of thousands of sea animals die each year because they ingest, suffocate or get trapped in them. The oil used to make one plastic bag could power a car for 115m.

Action

I will be carrying out the Plastic Free July challenge this year – http://www.plasticfreejuly.org and be an ambassador for the campaign in New Zealand. I am also helping organise a community event to help people engage with the Plastic Free July campaign. I have started making sure I have a re-usable bag with me at all times, so I can say no to plastic bags. I distributed ‘Say No To Plastic Bags’ stickers and wrote a letter to the Environment Minister asking her to declare single-use plastic bags a ‘priority product’ under the New Zealand Waste Minimisation Act 2005, which means they could be restricted and phased out in the near future.

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