Greenpeace's advice on how to avoid using plastic bin bags

  • 27/02/2018
Greenpeace's advice on how to avoid using plastic bin bags
Photo credit: Getty

Greenpeace has offered advice for those who want to cut down on plastic bags but still line their rubbish bins.

Greenpeace plastics campaigner Elena Di Palma gives the following advice for what to do instead of using plastic bags for rubbish:

  • Set up a composting bin for food scraps
  • Line rubbish bins with newspaper
  • Wash rubbish bins with soap and water
  • Empty rubbish bins more frequently

Ms Di Palma said that instead of using plastic bags, people should opt for reusable bags and use them as many times as possible.

"There's an environmental cost to everything we use once," she says.

Earlier on Tuesday, Greenpeace took a 65,000 strong petition to Parliament that calls on the Government to ban all single use plastic bags in New Zealand.

Signatories include former Prime Minister Helen Clark, actor Sam Neill and environmental activist Dr Jane Goodall.

New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion plastic bags every year.

Even though they're used for 12 minutes on average, each plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to degrade.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show the Government is working towards a strategy for managing plastic bag use.

"It's one of the things I get the most correspondence from, the most letters from children. They write to me about straws that affect turtles and bags affecting sea life," she said.

"What we have at the moment is inconsistency, so that's one of the things that we need to work on.

"For instance, individual supermarket chains who are doing a fantastic job in deciding they're not going to use them or that they'll charge for them.

"But we don't have a uniform approach."

The previous National government encouraged voluntary schemes from businesses to cut down on plastic bags.

ACT leader David Seymour is opposed to banning plastic bags, citing a study by a US university that found five people in San Francisco die each year from using reusable bags that were not clean.

On Tuesday, a non-scientific Newshub poll found that the vast majority of respondents used plastic bags to line their bins.

On Newshub's Facebook page, a number of commenters said they did not use a bag in their rubbish bin.

Some opted instead to clean out their bin regularly and tip rubbish directly into a wheelie bin for collection, while others used newspaper.