Q: With the celebration of the Battle of the River Plate, can you tell me what has happened to the gun turret of the Achilles which was on display at a scrap metal yard in Neilson St in Onehunga? The scrap metal yard has recently gone and so has the turret. I enjoyed looking at it every day as I passed it and thought of those brave sailors. Harold Brown, Onehunga.
I cannot ascertain as fact that that was the actual Achilles turret at Pacific Steel, which has been sold to Bluescopesteel, who are the proprietors of the Glenbrook steel mill.
What I did find out was that when the Achilles was decommissioned, the Indian Navy purchased her in 1948, and when finally scrapped, her guns were removed and sold. One went to the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland, one to the School of Artillery (in India), and the third, while sitting in a naval dockyard (destined for the Indian Gunnery School), mysteriously never arrived. Its fate is variously described as "eaten by rats" or "eaten by white ants".
Somehow or other it turned up in New Zealand where Graeme Craw of Maungatapere snapped it up. It has now been fully restored.
Q: It doesn't matter how hard I try when shopping, I always seem to end up with plastic bags. Many end up being reused but we still end up with bags of plastic bags.
I'd feel bad putting them in the recycling bin, so what can I do with them so I know they won't blow around some landfill? Mike Renner, Auckland.
This is a perpetual problem. Suggestions for disposal include using the bags as kitchen bin liners, for picking up after your dog, or for similar uses, before putting the bags out for your normal collection.
They can also be used as packaging for delicate items to be posted, or donated to charity shops, or given to local preschools, which apparently go through heaps.
And some supermarkets do still have bins for unwanted bags, as do some Warehouse stores.
If you happen to be in the area, you might consider dropping them off for free at Enviroreel Plastics, 27C Cain Rd, Penrose, phone (09) 580-0285.
The Auckland City website advises that plastic bags are not permitted in recycling bins, as they can clog the machines at the recycling facility and cause machinery failures.
A recent press release issued by Auckland Council advises that it has agreed to establish a working group to minimise the usage of single-use plastic bags in the Auckland region.
The decision, made by the Environment, Climate Change and Natural Heritage Committee, provides a basis for the development of an accord on how to minimise plastic bag and packaging waste. The group will be made up of interested retailers, consumer groups, industry representatives and communities.
It follows a report that investigated the options available to the council to reduce single-use plastic bags in the Auckland region. In addition, council will work internally to reduce use of the bags among council departments, and will also build on existing community initiatives.
And for the numerically inclined, it seems each New Zealander consumes approximately 36kg of plastic packaging per year and recycles 8.64kg.