Carrying Our Future is an open group of people concerned about the use of single-use plastic bags in Palmerston North, currently facilitated by Jennifer Moss, Ari Mendtsoo, Dr Trisia Farrelly and Councillor Rachel Bowen. The group was formed out of a belief that there are viable alternatives to single-use plastic bags that are good for people, the environment and which avoid waste, whilst still enabling a convenient solution for retailers and their customers. They believe that they can enable change by working constructively with the community and local businesses and in September 2015, the group launched ‘Plastic Bag Free Friday on George’, (George Street is a popular shopping street in Palmerston North.) With the agreement of George Street retailers, Carrying Our Future is attempting to achieve the first plastic bag free street in New Zealand. They have started with Fridays, but hope that the message will spread and eventually every day will be plastic bag free on George Street. Many George Street retailers already use alternatives to plastic, like paper or cloth bags, and with the assistance of PNCET ‘Carrying Our Future’ had 500 attractive cloth bags printed with their logo and campaign name, to give to retailers who usually use plastic bags at the point of sale.
‘We are very grateful for the assistance of PNCET. First they gave us a grant to print posters for our launch and public forum at the Palmerston North City Library on June 14th 2015. More recently they funded the printing of bags for our ‘Plastic Free Friday on George’ initiative, said group facilitator, Jennifer Moss.
The group has also had support from the Palmerston North City Council with Councillor Rachel Bowen involved in spreading the message at a National level. The council passed a remit through Local Government New Zealand asking the government to impose a levy on plastic bags at point-of-sale to discourage their use. The remit was also passed by Horizons Regional Council, Hauraki District Council, South Wairarapa District Council, Taupo District Council, Napier City Council and Dunedin City Council.
The group’s actions are supported by research through their facilitating member, Dr Trisia Farrelly, a Massey University academic who has conducted research and surveys in Palmerston North on household waste management and is supervising a number of postgraduate projects on issues of sustainability and waste disposal.
‘Carrying Our Future’ sees a big part of their role as informing people and getting them on board with more sustainable shopping habits. ‘We’re working to help people understand the issues and explore viable alternatives. We run programmes and initiatives, supporting the people and businesses who share our vision and celebrating our successes along the way!’ said Jennifer.
Read more about their activities here - media articles about Carrying Our Future: