Sustainability Trust is delighted about the Government’s response to public support for a ban on single-use plastic bags. Banning single-use plastic bags is an achievable, visible example of environmental stewardship — and an important step in New Zealand’s journey to Zero Waste.
We encourage all Kiwis to have their say in the ban’s public consultation. Visit the Ministry for the Environment’s website to make your submission before 14 September 2018. Most of us have used single-use plastic bags at supermarkets and other retailers. The Government removing them from circulation encourages us to rethink our relationship with all single-use plastics.
Many other single-use plastics are causing big problems. In our EcoShop, we offer a number of alternatives for those looking to further reduce their plastic waste, such as reusable bags, water bottles and stainless steel straws. The Government could go further in banning other plastic products — we hope for further announcements in that space in the future.
We believe container deposit schemes should be on the Government’s agenda. In countries where container deposit schemes are in place, virtually no plastic bottles or cans leak into the environment — they have monetary value to the consumer, who return them to recycling facilities via retail outlets.
Sustainability Trust works with Wellington residents, schools and businesses to reduce waste to landfill. These include programmes such as Your Sustainable School, Your Sustainable Workplace and a range of community workshops. Since 2013, we have conducted 30 waste audits in primary and intermediate schools around the Wellington region. These waste audits show that on average a school of 306 students has a single-use plastic landfill output of 125 kg per week, or 5,000 kg per 40 week year. That's the same weight as a fully grown male African elephant - that's a lot of waste!
We're proud of our work to support both the responsible waste systems in schools, businesses and public places (e.g. recycling bins) and encourage people to refuse, reduce and reuse products otherwise ending up in landfill or the environment. We support the Government ban on single-use plastic bags, and hope this is the first of many similar measures in the future.
Last financial year, we provided the highest number of free, lined curtains ever to families with Community Services Cards. To be exact, we gave 2462 sets of curtains to 604 households! But we want to give out even more this year before our Wellington Curtain Bank closes on 30 November.
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