A movement to rid Kaitāia of plastic shopping bags and other single-use plastic items by 2020 is gathering momentum.

And as a bonus people are learning how the town got its name. Waikarere Gregory said Plastic Free Kaitāia (PFK 2020) was born of a growing awareness of the negative effects plastic was having on our environment, particularly marine life.

"It's a Far North Environment Centre project, now in conjunction with several other community groups, including CBEC Ecosolutions, Para Kore and Corrections, to help our local community transition away from its reliance on plastic," she said.

The draft logo for Kaitāia’s answer to the single-use plastic bag issue.
The draft logo for Kaitāia’s answer to the single-use plastic bag issue.

"In the next month we'll be introducing a local-flavoured kete into the hood as an alternative to plastic shopping bags. The reusable bags are made from donated material, upcycled jeans and T-shirts by volunteers, PD workers, Corrections and maybe even you.

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"A group meets fortnightly at Far North REAP, on Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm (next on June 13), led by Jo Shanks of CBEC Ecosolutions. Come along anytime between 4pm and 6pm to make yourself a reusable bag, as well as bags for community use. No sewing experience is needed, as there are plenty of non-sewing tasks to do."

Some of the upcycled T-shirt bags were already in circulation at the Kaitāia Library, the EcoCentre and the Salvation Army, but the aim was to get them into more places, along with cloth bags with the Kaitāia kete logo, although that would depend on production being able to keep up with demand.

A shortened version of the korero relating to the naming of Kaitāia, as told by the late Ross Gregory, would appear on the bag labels, to restore a sense of pride in the town after negative press. More developments in the PFK 2020 programme would be revealed next month, as people around the world took up the challenge of Plastic Free July.

* If you have material to donate or would like to be a Kaitāia kete stockist contact Waikarere, at the EcoCentre (tuituiart@hotmail.com), or Jo, at CBEC Ecosolutions (jo@cbec.co.nz).