Business people with a passion to protect their environment really can lead the way in the fight against plastic trash.
But a businessman responding to the Herald's appeal for ideas to curb plastic trash entering the Hauraki Gulf, maintains that private enterpise can only do so much.
Legislation is needed to eliminate plastic bags, says Grahame Christian, from the country's largest privately owned waste and recycling company.
"We have to determine what the source of the problem is before we make assumptions."
The MD at Smart Environmental, Christian agrees that a huge amount of plastic enters the marine environment.
This is based on observations over many years recreational fishing, plus observations during helicopter flights, including an eight-day one across the country.
"I have barely if ever seen anyone throw away a plastic bag. My view is that they come from a number of sources but mostly from business activities such as building sites, refuse and recycling bins and general waste," says Mr Christian.
"My company operates a fleet of 70-plus trucks collecting rubbish and recycling and 29 rubbish transfer stations.
"Plastic bags blow out of our trucks and sites every day. We just cannot control it.
"A lot of our sites are obviously close to drainage systems, waterways and the ocean. I am a fan of simply banning plastic bags. They are in our streams, waterways, oceans and across our country.
"I am on our industry board (WasteMINZ) and I will be advocating that we take a position against the use of single use plastic bags."
Here's what some other business people said about the issue:
Cosmetics in solid bars
I have a 100% waste free company in Christchurch, dedicated to eliminating the packaging (usually plastic) associated with beauty products simply by making everything as solid bars. (www.sorbetcosmetics.co.nz).
There are usually alternatives to plastic and these need to be promoted. It is easier to change what is available for consumers, than alter a mindset that single use disposable plastics are acceptable. Polyethylene microbeads in cosmetics is a huge problem as they are now found in almost every body of water on earth, although most companies are on the track to fazing them out.
Another excellent example is honeywrap (several varieties on the market) which is a reusable, plastic free alternative to gladwrap. Such a brilliant idea and made with beeswax and cloth.
Reuse shopping bags
The problem isn't going to go away until we find decent alternatives to disposable plastic and use up the stuff already in circulation. As a stay at home mum of 2 kids I decided to address this problem a few years ago and now I make a range of products at home that replace disposable plastics. Reusable sandwich wraps and bags are helpful is keeping plastic wrap and bags out of schools.
Our main product though is our reusable shopping bags that are made out of 40 + recycled plastic bags! Each bag is made strong and durable and can replace between 3-5 plastic shopping bags per trip and around 1000 bags in their lifetime! I haven't taken a plastic bag in over 2 years and yet have personally recycled 40,000 of them keeping them out of our waterways and landfills. We also try and educate people on how to stop being so dependant on disposable plastic. Visit www.ReMaterialise.co.nz to see more of what we are doing.
Invention protects drains
Mr Jurgen Komp wrote in saying he has patented an invention which aims to reduce pollutants, including plastic trash, from entering stromwater drains. The Eco Trash Trap is a practical, affordable solution preventing stormwater polluting our waterways, in the process assisting compliance with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
The device uses a storm water manhole "purification" system that filters organic materials, silt, street litter and debris. The device helps absorb hydro-carbon spills and unwanted chemicals polluting our waterways.
Among other features, the Eco Trash Trap bring helps prevent rubbish from entering our waterways; assists compliance with NPS for Freshwater Management and absorbs hydro carbon water pollution by cars and trucks. It can be installed in new and retro-fitted in existing manholes and collect rubbish from multiple drains servicing large areas.
The device is designed and distributed by: Eco Universal Devices Limited.