NewsroomPlus.com They were first patented in 1965, but really only gained popularity in the mid 1980’s. Now there are between 500 billion and 1 trillion produced annually and New Zealanders uses approximately 1 billion of them each year. Yet only around 5% are recycled. Most are simply discarded with billions ending up in the world’s oceans, where it is a major killer of ocean life. This is the seemingly humble plastic bag. There is a movement in New Zealand at the moment to try and limit the use of single use plastic bags. One of the people spearheading this movement is Green Party MP Denise Roche, who is currently meeting with people up and down the country as part of Plastic-free July to bring awareness to the issue and to discuss what can be done to help reduce the use of plastic bags in New Zealand. Last night was the 20th of 28 of these meetings, and was held in the Te Aro community centre in Wellington where a group of around 20 individuals turned up. Denise opened by discussing many of the facts and figures to do with plastic bag use. These included:
- That an estimated 5.75 trillion pieces of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year.
- New Zealanders use approximately 1 billion plastic bags each year.
- The average plastic bag is only used for 12 minutes before it is discarded.
- Several countries have already banned or restricted plastic bag use – these include Rwanda and Bangladesh.
- Golden Bay managed to go plastic bag free in 2005 but relapsed in 2008.