Sam Judd

Comment on the environment from nzherald.co.nz columnist Sam Judd

Sam Judd: Never underestimate the little people

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This week a Facebook campaign about plastic lollipop sticks has put enough pressure on confectionary manufacturing giant Chupa Chups to start a project that will change the product to a more sustainable material.

It was your classic David versus Goliath battle. Essentially an online protest run by Astral Sligo and the Two Hands Project. Sligo is your everyday Aucklander who was motivated to do something after being involved in beach clean-ups. They managed to generate momentum and people got on board after realising there is no reason why such a quickly consumed item should have unnecessary plastic holding it together.

Plastic lollipop sticks have long irked me. As I kid I remember lollipop sticks being made from paper. I don't see why they needed to change this to a product that lasts forever.

I take my hat of to Sligo and the Two Hands Project for pulling this off.

In under three years we have picked up 9,355 lollipop sticks and they're just one of the many products that have available alternatives that are not only safer for us but better for the environment.

We have also picked up over 4,000 of those irritating 'pay and display' parking receipts. These used to be made of paper and now are mostly plastic. Thousands of these are printed out on our streets daily and they very easily blow out the window of the car.

I do not understand why such a receipt - which by its nature can only ever be used once - should be made of a material that lasts for thousands of years.

Sligo is proof that with a little effort the little people can successfully cause change. Perhaps we could ask our city councils to change back to paper and make bylaws for parking companies. If Chupa Chups - a private business - will listen and change their ways, then you would hope that councils would too.

Does anyone out there want to start a similar campaign on parking receipts or any other type of litter? I have plenty of data that you are welcome to have, just send me a message and I will happily pass it on.

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