Plastic bags are essentially indestructible, yet they're used and thrown away with reckless abandon. Most end up in the ocean, where they pollute the water and harm marine life; the rest are burned in garbage piles, where they release harmful dioxins into the atmosphere.
Bye Bye Plastic Bags is a social initiative driven by youth to get the people to say no to plastic bags. Founders and sisters, Melati (15) and Isabel (13) Wijsen started Bye Bye Plastic Bags 3 years ago when they were inspired by a lesson in class about significant people like Nelson Mandela, Lady Diana, Mahatma Ghandi. They went home that day and thought “What can we do as children living in Bali, what can we do NOW.” Bye Bye Plastic Bags was born in 2013 has become a well known international movement of inspiration, youth empowerment, and of course, saying no to plastic bags.
Melati and Isabel Wijsen are on a mission to stop plastic bags from suffocating their beautiful island home of Bali. Their efforts — including petitions, beach cleanups, even a hunger strike — paid off when they convinced their governor to commit to a plastic bag-free Bali by 2018. "Don't ever let anyone tell you that you're too young or you won't understand," Isabel says to other aspiring activists. "We're not telling you it's going to be easy. We're telling you it's going to be worth it."
JGI NZ is thrilled to partner with the amazing founding BBPB crew and now be the base for the Bye Bye Plastic Bag New Zealand campaign.
In Auckland alone, about 17,000 tonnes of household soft plastics ended up in landfill in 2016. That compares with about 360 tonnes collected nationally each year under the supermarket-based Soft Plastic Packaging Recycling Scheme.
It would seem rather than recycle we should say bye bye to plastic bags.
The NYLC are empowered to drive this campaign and welcome groups throughout New Zealand to join them to make a difference for the better by getting rid of plastic bags in our country.
Steps in the Bye Bye Plastic Bags New Zealand campaign
- Investigating the plastic scene in their city/region and conducting a community survey.
- Exploring alternatives to plastic bags.
- Presenting about BBPB at schools or community gatherings.
- Creating a plan for campaign actions to spread awareness, and change behaviour.
- Building BBPB groups and networks within areas to increase actions and engagement.
- Spreading awareness through education presentations, flash mobs, beach clean ups and more.
- On average, we use a plastic bag for 30-mins but it lasts in our environment for 500-1000 years.
- 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.
- By 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish by weight.
- 25% of the fish found in markets and consumed by US have plastic inside them.
Take Steps Now
Sign this petition to help to phase out single-use plastic bags in New Zealand.
New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion single-use plastic bags every year. On the whole they are made from a non-renewable resource and despite the best efforts of a growing number of environmentally aware shoppers who refuse plastic bags at the check-out the light weight bags still make their way into the environment where they pose significant harm to marine life. Plastic bags in the marine environment contribute to an estimated 100,000 marine mammal deaths per year. They create a risk of entanglement and turtles and whales have been found to eat them. Plastic bags are also problematic for humans as, over time in the marine environment, they degrade into micro-plastic which attract persistent organic pollutants and enter the food-chain once they have been consumed by fish.
The Green party have launched a Members’ Bill to put a small charge of 15 cents on single-use plastic bags at your local shop. That money will go to the good guys doing waste minimisation work and education to help us get plastic bags out of our oceans.
Sign in support of the Green Party's Waste Minimisation (Single-use Plastic Bag) Amendment Bill and see it passed into legislation. Let Environment Minister Nick Smith know you support this Bill!
Stop your own single-use of plastic bags, it is simple!
Join Bye Bye Plastic Bags New Zealand
Are you interested in getting involved with the Bye Bye Plastic Bags campaign, joining a group or starting your own - Let us know!