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TCDC supports levy on plastic bags

Coromandel Peninsula | Fri June 30, 2017

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TCDC is getting behind a campaign to introduce a small, compulsory fee for plastic bags - the bags that are used to carry shopping home and then usually end up in landfill or littering our beaches and reserves.

Mayor Sandra Goudie has joined a campaign of New Zealand mayors that is urging the government to impose such a levy at the point of sale on these "single-use" plastic bags

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester is spearheading the campaign. Mayor Sandra has backed the idea in a letter to Hon. Scott Simpson, who is the Member of Parliament for Coromandel.

"These single-use plastic bags are impacting on our local environment and are a real detriment to our 'clean, green' image and even more so in the picturesque Coromandel Peninsula," says Mayor Sandra.

"You don't have to drive far to see the effect of these plastic bags, they are littered along our roadsides and on our wonderful beaches," she says.

"Our preference is for Government to set a levy at the point of sale with the aspiration that this will act as a deterrent and reduce the consumption and production of single-use plastic bags," Mayor Sandra says.

Hon. Simpson has set up a working group in Parliament to look at ways to reduce plastic bag consumption and has said he supports what the UK does: retailers charge 5 pence for a plastic bag and then that money is donated to a charity of the retailer's choice.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says after the UK levy was introduced in October 2015, plastic bag usage dropped by 85% within six months.

Waste plan adopted

Reducing waste, whether it is discarded plastic bags or other items, is central to Council's Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which TCDC adopted at its meeting this week.

The Plan sets out how the three Eastern Waikato Councils (TCDC and Hauraki and Matamata-Piako district councils) are working together to manage waste for the benefit of everyone in the community.

The original plan dates from 2011 and was written with the input of the community and waste management professionals.

In line with the Waste Management Act, it was reviewed earlier this year with community input.

The Plan's vision is to "minimise waste to landfill and maximise community benefit".

Existing services will continue and we'll investigate new ways to divert waste from landfill.

Goals include actively promoting waste reduction, working together to maximise opportunities, and managing waste services in the most cost-effective manner.

Targets include a 13% reduction in the total quantity of waste sent to landfills by 2020 and a 5% reduction in kerbside waste by 2022.

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