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Environmental movement gains momentum

 

 

15 MF-MBSenvirongrp copy-783Support to clear Mangawhai’s beautiful lands of single-use plastic continues to flourish as more local businesses, individuals and schools get creative on how to rid the area of the environmental hazard.

The ongoing enthusiasm is encouraging especially with the recent report of a floating mass of plastic, measuring to be nearly the size of Greenland, drifting through South Pacific waters. The waste is thought to come mainly from New Zealand and accentuates the urgency of dealing with plastic waste.

Mangawhai Beach School (MBS) teacher and Environment Unit Facilitator, Jackie Fanning, says students in the school’s Envirogroup are on board with the plastic-free movement, currently using 'whole-school vision mapping' to identify what the children believe are priority projects to help the school’s environment.

“We are an Enviroschool and the mapping is to make sure the school is doing the right thing for their students,” she says. “We have a number of initiatives… the MBS science group have been surveying the amount of single-use plastics in lunch boxes and room 12 are organising workshops to make reusable shopping bags out of old t-shirts with the whole school and the community.”

The Envirogroup is also focusing on student lunchboxes, investigating how items of food are packaged and offering alternative ideas to children and their parents to reduce the use of single-use plastic like glad wrap.

“We posted on our MBS Facebook page information on how to do this and now every week we are doing a demonstration comparing wasteful practices to ones that consider reducing the amount of rubbish we produce,” Fanning says.

T-shirt shopping bags continue to be crafted by a group of keen locals at the Village cafe, the Frog & Kiwi on Tuesday mornings, with nearby stores Fresh, Kakariki and both

Mangawhai’s Four Squares offering to make them available for shoppers. More crafters and t-shirts are welcome.

Mangawhai Village Four Square has begun their plastic-free initiative, making their stock of re-usable bags more visible on the front counter and selling them at a reduced price. The plan is working as, to date, the shop has sold 500 of the green Four Square bags.

Popular Mangawhai Heads cafe Sandbar currently uses only paper bags for takeaway food and is now offering compostable Eco Ware cups for coffee-on-the-go. A donation incentive scheme, to either a local cause or conservation group, may also be implemented to encourage customers to bring their own BYO cup.

Olive grove and farm-stay business Silver Hill Olive Estate in Te Hana has joined the movement by giving customers the option to bring their own bottles when filling up with their A-grade, award-winning olive oil.

Environmental organisation ‘Love Kaipara’ submitted a petition to Kaipara District Council (KDC) on July 25 requesting a ban on single-use plastic bags throughout Kaipara,. The 2000 strong petition, which had only been launched three weeks ago, attracted attention from not only local residents and New Zealanders nationwide, but also supporters from around the world. A group of representatives will present the petition officially to KDC at their ordinary meeting on August 14. n For more information see facebook.com/PlasticFreeMangawhai or facebook.com/KaiparaCares.

 

WHAT THE FACTS SAY

Over 40,000 plastic check-out bags are dumped in landfills every hour in New Zealand

One third of turtles washed up dead on NZ beaches have ingested plastic and much of it from plastic bags.

90 per cent of the world’s seabirds have now ingested plastic.

Plastic bags take 500 years to break down in landfills.

Over 92,000 plastic bags were cleaned up from 34 beaches across NZ by Sustainable Coastlines in 2013.

Plastic shopping bags are not free – they are a cost to retailers, to our environment and to us.

 

SHOCK! MBS Envirogroup students discover just how much wrapping a 180g multi-packet bag of potato chips has, compared to a single 150g bag which contained only slightly less chips.


 
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