By Grace Ellis
Tidy kiwis abandon single-use plastic bags and opt for eco-friendly alternatives.
Reusable grocery bags are becoming the latest trend making an impression on Clean Green New Zealand.
According to the Auckland Council, NZ uses a staggering 1.6 billion plastic bags every year.
A little shop with big ideas, GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery, located in Ponsonby, is inspiring this change, being New Zealand’s first entirely plastic-free store.
A healthy and sustainable lifestyle being the main drive he wanted to instil on others, the 29-year-old founder and director of the refillery, James Denton, decided to open the store in hopes of spreading awareness and making a difference, by encouraging people to bring their own refillable containers and bags or purchase them through the store.
“Although it takes a lot of time and responsiveness for people to actually start acting, society is definitely becoming more aware of the vast impact our waste is having on the environment”.
The public has praised the store for going green, saying that the “cool factor” of GoodFor is a smart way of bringing the idea of reusable items to mainstream society.
“If it’s on trend and cool at the same time, it captures those who put their social status in precedence over the environment as well as those who already care for the environment”, Denton says.
Next door to the Countdown supermarket, Ponsonby manager, André, said that he has noticed a large decrease in the amount of plastic bags being used in recent years, with people feeling more inclined to turn to ethical alternatives.
Introducing soft plastic recycling in November 2015, customers are encouraged to drop off their soft packaging, including plastic bags, to participating stores, ultimately reducing the amount of waste going into landfills.
With over 25 million bags in 2016 given back for recycling, shoppers are beginning to develop a better consciousness for the environment.
Denton believes that it’s unlikely large supermarket chains will ever become entirely plastic-free as his store is, but a plastic-bag ban does look possible.
Countdown Waiheke, announced news of a plastic bag ban in 2015 and André believes that in the future, other locations will follow suit, with people discovering sustainable living trends.
Denton hopes that in the future he can further use his influence to produce materials that are actually sustainable – keeping your food fresh but is biodegradable and water soluble.