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'Waste not, want not' is Papakura motto

Published: 8 June 2021

It’s all very well to decorate your town with flags celebrating seasonal events but what do you do when the events are over, and the weather has done its worst?

It’s a question Papakura Business Association manager Tracy Shackleton was left pondering with swags of old and outdated flags that once decorated the main street piling up in her office.

The answer was just a few metres away, at Sustainable Papakura’s Averill Street hub, where willing workers set about rescuing the flags and turning them into the shopping bags offered by many Papakura businesses.

“A lot of money goes into buying the flags and we try to ensure that we get the most out of them by not branding them with dates that will limit their use,” Shackleton says.

“But we were left recently with quite a few that were hung to recognise Anzac Day and commemorate Gallipoli, and those are the ones Sustainable Papakura is now turning into shopping bags.

“With the very bright red poppy symbol we all instantly recognise, they are going to make some great bags, and that’s a wonderful use for something that might otherwise end up in landfill.”

Papakura Local Board is a supporter of both groups.

“We work with the business association to promote doing business in the town, and through events such as Street Fest, and we work with Rosemary Nash and the Sustainable Papakura team because they are making a real difference," board chair Brent Catchpole says.

“They are the champions of recycling and stopping to think what you do with something before you just consign it to the bin.

“They are also wonderful teachers, especially of our young people, passing on upcycling skills in a fun and educational way, and their Sustainable Papakura monthly markets are very much a part of the events calendar of our town.”

The organisation has a host of events each month, from sewing skills courses, resource recovery work, drop-in programmes and children’s waste reduction clinics, all listed on its website here.

Member Sue Rainsford runs a sewing bee on Monday from 9.30am to noon and anyone interested in learning how to make the reusable bags is welcome.

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