Green Team Column #6: The Youth-Quake Begins to Rumble…

The Youth-Quake begins to Rumble….

Sometimes it takes the wisdom of youth to make us pay attention to a problem that sticks out a mile. ‘Youth-quake’ is a term we will soon be hearing more often, where young people speak out to change something for the better. The wise words in this Green Column have been written by Alanna Nicholls, aged 10 of Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School.

Have you ever thought about how much plastic you are using? Or where it goes after you have finished with it? Well, most of it goes straight to the landfill, and after that, some ends up in the world’s bodies of water.

Did you know that in the ocean, there is a rubbish dump the size of Texas? Not good. In my opinion, everyone should start refusing to use plastic.

First of all, why do you even need to use plastic? Plastic is actually quite new, and people got on fine without it. Plastic bags aren’t needed. You could use recyclable bags made of things like cloth and paper. And even those little ones at the supermarket that are used for loose fruit; again you could use reusable and recyclable bags. [Green Team note: paper bags are now available at New World in Hokitika for your fruit and veggies.]

Also, plastic plant pots. For gardening shops, why not make plant pots out of card? It would save a lot of plastic, especially if you have a very busy shop. Don’t forget that gardening is meant to help the planet – selling plants in plastic is not a very good way to go about it.

If it is absolutely necessary for you to use plastic, the next best thing to do would be to reuse it. This means that if you have any plastic that you have used, try to use it again and again until that is no longer possible.

When you can’t reuse your plastic anymore, recycle it. It is not just plastic that you can recycle, it is almost anything. Glass, tins/cans, paper, cardboard – all of these things can be recycled. Recycling does not mean chucking it into one of the planet’s bodies of water or the waste bin, it means collecting it, cleaning it, and recycling it – in your recycling bin or by taking it somewhere for recycling.

In Hokitika, New World Supermarket is going to stop using plastic bags this year. Personally, I think that this is a great idea, as it will help the community to think about how much plastic they are using. If all of the shops in Hokitika could do this, then the whole community would benefit. There would be less plastic bags, and it might also encourage other places to do the same. Before then though, everyone could use their own reusable and recyclable bags.

I hope that everyone will pay attention to this and keep it in mind before you buy or use plastic.

If you like Alanna’s message about using less plastic, you can ‘walk the talk’ by using Boomerang Bags. These are hand-made cloth bags, are offered at a couple of places in town so far, replacing single-use plastic bags and with the aim of having them returned so they can be used over and over again.

If you want to go one step further and help to make these bags, there is a Boomerang Bag Sewing Session this Friday, 20 April 10.30am at Poutini Waiora (17 Sewell Street). Anyone is welcome. If you have a sewing machine, bring it along; also any scraps of fabric or thread.

The Green Team meets every six weeks and is always interested in eco-friendly ideas. If you have something you wish to share, we’d love to hear from you on our ‘greenteamhokitika’ facebook page.

Let’s not worry about age – if it is important enough to change, we can start our own “youth-quake”!

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Green Team Hokitika