Council does a good thing: Locals still complain

Using a plastic bag to pick up dog poo is good.

This week the Queenstown Lakes District Council rolled out more of, hopefully many, new bins especially for the collection of recycled dog food.

They have taken the canine by the ears and placed five new dog poop bins around local walking tracks and parks.

Screenshot: Whaleoil

You may note the clever design here, a plastic bag dispenser on the rear of the unit in case you forgot to bring your own bag, the smart way the bin entrance is designed to allow you to hold the top of your tied bag and slide it into the bin without your hands having to be near the yukky bit. It’s also great for stopping your kid’s hands getting up in there for a good fossick about.

“Brilliant”, “well done”, “keep up the good work” might all be things you would expect to read in the comments. After all, who could be down on the council for trying to clean up one of the most disgusting problems that face our local walkers and park goers?

Greenie Wombles that’s who.

I guess it should be expected with all the virtue signalling going on re plastic bags at the moment, but geez people, get a grip.

Comment on above FB post

I thought, ‘Oh well, there’s always one’. But no, it seems hating on plastic bags might be endemic around Queenstown.

Comments on FB post

At least one commenter called the others out for claiming to speak for the majority.

But what’s with all this ‘bags must be biodegradable’ nonsense?

Perhaps the True Greenies of Queenstown hit enter on their silly comments before looking at the issue as a whole so let’s look briefly at the subject of biodegradability.

Sure you can buy biodegradable plastic bags but they only biodegrade when exposed to sunlight and oxygen etc, and as parliamentary commissioner for the environment Simon Upton said:

growing public concern over the impact of plastic on the environment had created “a fertile climate for the promotion of plastics that are said to be biodegradable, degradable and compostable”.

There was a “bewildering array of claims about plastic”, some of which amounted to little more than green-washing. End quote.

As can be seen in the graphic below, so-called biodegradable plastic bags can only be composted with any success in commercial facilities under optimum conditions. The chances of a biodegradable plastic bag actually biodegrading in a landfill are pretty much nil.

Options for composting or recycling common plastics in New Zealand. Photo:

Furthermore, those little bags of excrement are designed to be placed inside the bin provided. Inside that bin, and I’m am willing to bet my next lotto win on this, will, in fact, be another, much thicker plastic bag into which the colourful bags of fun will be dropped.

The purpose of the big black bag inside will be threefold.

Firstly, it is way more convenient to carry around hundreds of little bags of poop in one big strong bag, with or without those dreaded handles!

Secondly, the big bag is made of much heavier plastic so the offerings inside the little bags won’t escape all over the poor minimum wage council worker who is tasked with cleaning up after you and your delightful doggie.

Thirdly, once the big bag of dog delights has been taken to the local landfill, there is less chance of all that vileness escaping into the atmosphere by way of the process of breaking down, thereby producing all that evil methane gas along the way.

Landfills are so called because they ‘Fill the land’. They are not called ‘Land Compost Heaps’ as that is an entirely different thing, and if you try and take your doggie doos to the local organic matter recycling centre, you will be told where to go anyway. Straight to the landfill no doubt.

In a landfill, you would need all that oxygen etc to allow things to break down. There is a reason why still readable 100-year-old newspapers have been located in old tips.

A nearly intact paper newspaper page collected this fall at the landfill in Maple Valley. The clipping is from a portion of the landfill that dates from about 1965.Sally Brown Washington Post.

The whole point of these bins is to have somewhere hygienic and convenient to place your puppies bio-waste, not to provide baggies that you can use to pick up the eggs then leave them in the sunshine for everyone to see hoping that one day, in a few months or years, they might disappear. That would, of course, make the decomposition slower than just leaving them where they were laid.

Whether the supplied bags are biodegradable or not makes zero difference when it will all be chucked securely into a landfill anyway.

And please don’t tell me to pick up after my puppy with paper bags, that’s just gross.

So come on Queenstown, stop your whining, support your council when they do good things. At least you won’t have to end up like Omaha!