Bevan Sanson: Time to bag the bags

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/img/placeholder.gif?aHR0cDovL2NhY2hlLmRheWxpZmUuY29tL2ltYWdlc2VydmUvMDBkWDdoTzlWSWZHRy8zNDB4LmpwZw==The delicate balance between progress and protecting our environment has always been a tricky situation.

At times we humans have made a complete hash of things.

The ice-caps are balding. The rainforest could soon become a single shrub and the Moa’s combination of being slow, yet tasty, led New Zealand’s first inhabitants to hunt the big bird to extinction thus destroying any plans for a Kaikoura Fried-Moa chain of eateries.

I myself try to do my part. I compost, I recycle and every time a possum or rabbit runs out in front of me I do my upmost to run the pest over.

However, I and the rest of the Rugby community have not done enough when it comes to environmental matters.

Supermarkets, the big red shed and other retailers are currently or soon to be charging us for plastic bags.

Costs range between five and 10 cents and it’s hoped by charging consumers it will help reduce the number of such items we use.

Nationally it’s about a billion a year and given New Zealand’s population is about the same as your average Chinese hamlet that number does seem excessive.

Believe it or not rugby players have always had an affinity with Mother Earth.

Think about it. Subliminally the footy field is one of the first places kids learn to appreciate what our green landscape has to offer.

It’s a place where we play with our friends. It’s an outdoor classroom where the subject of Rugby and the attributes of teamwork, fair-play, competiveness, courage, problem-solving and mateship are learnt. It provides a platform for us to run. It cushions us when we fall.

Later in life we burn fossil fuels, spend too long in the shower and, if you are an irresponsible dairy farmer, you’ll contribute to the nitrate leeching and subsequent pollution of our nation’s waterways.

All that aside, the sight of a 100mx50m grassy rectangle with a couple of oversized H’s at each end reminds even the most untidy of Kiwi rugby heads how cool Mother Earth is.

Now the rugby community is being asked to join rest of the country in further helping keep Aotearoa a nice shade of kakariki.

This means we are going to have to reduce the games’ dependency on plastic bags.

This burden will fall mainly on amateurs as the play-for-play arm of the game and its financial wherewithal is already using pricier, but reusable alternatives for the receptacle that has become as much a part of rugby as liniment and self-centred referees.

Our boots go in them, as does our dirty training gear and towels. Halftime oranges are carried to games in plastic bags, whilst the ice that goes on bumps and bruises is held in something that once contained tins of baked beans, chips and vegemite.

Anyone wearing hemp undies will tell you this latest eco-trend is necessary before another waterfowl is strangled and the march of the penguins turns into nothing more than a bit of a stroll.

As I write these words whilst also digesting a meal that contained organic vegetables (who said men can’t multi task), I also support the move to reduce plastic waste – To a point.

Doing right by the planet is fine by me, but what of our national game?

The government is appears to be right behind this latest eco-campaign. A cynic would point to the 12.5% in G.S.T the Government will receive each time some apparent enemy of the planet needs a plastic bag to hold their 12 items or less in.

If Kiwis continue to use plastic bags at their current rate the government stands to receive approximately $6 million a year in extra revenue. Of course this total will be reduced as our dependency on these apparent seagull killers diminishes.

However given Rugby’s important standing in this country I would like to see the government help out the nation’s amateur rugby players, and indeed anyone who uses plastic bags as part of their sporting regimen.

This new revenue stream created for the countries coffers should go towards providing every amateur sportsperson with a couple of reusable, washable and hardwearing bags to keep footwear and soiled sports clothing in.

These bags could debut the next time the parliamentarian Rugby team goes on tour, to show the nation that politicians live how they expect their voters to.

An amateur footy player’s life has always been a challenging one.

Balancing day-to-day commitments with two training sessions a week. Cold showers after the game. Being pinned in one corner of the clubrooms by a club oldie who insists on telling you what you did wrong “out there”. Limping through work on Monday with a dodgy knee. The obligatory mowing the lawns with hangover on Sunday after being sunk during last night’s boat races.

Then there’s the financial outlay.

Buying boots, beers, raffles, petrol costs to games and training. Playing our national game comes at a cost.

And with that cost soon to rise each time a player, trainer or orange cutting Mum reaches for a plastic bag I strongly urge the government to help out those who are involved at Rugby’s grassroots level.

I would suggest the government consider a joint venture with the NZRU, but I would hate for the All Blacks to have to play yet another test match just so I can have a couple of free canvas bags.

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  • Jacko says
    Good for you Bevan! I am also a conservationist, I am the guy you see chasing a floating plastic bag down the beach even tho its not mine, and dump it in the rubbish bin. I do use green bags for shopping most of the time and all the bags we get, get re-used in one way or another.

    But there is a fine line between conservation, and ripping us all off, which is really all the supermarkets are doing. a 40,000% profit margin per bag times 1 billion bags is not too bad, and what are they doing with that super-profit? Giving to the save-the-Kea fund, doubt it!
    • Sam says
      Hearing that!
    • The Who!? says
      Yeah it's like tipping a rapist for handing back your clothes.

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