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Jun 29, 2018

Students' reusable eco-friendly bags a weapon against plastic waste

Students from Roncalli College YES team Gaia Enterprise have developed a reusable and biodegradable 100% cotton grocery bag.

Gaia Enterprise

Roncalli​ College's Gaia Enterprise is hoping to combat plastic waste through a new creation, a biodegradable​ and reusable fruit bag.

The group of year 13 students, who took their business name from the Greek earth goddess, have made their own bag for carrying fruit and vegetables. The idea was sparked by member Luke Tucker's aunt.

After a grocery trip, she had commented to him that "there wasn't an alternative to plastic bags to be used for fruit", Tucker said.

Tucker then suggested the idea to the group for its Young Enterprise class, which involves creating its own product, business, and roles.

The students' mutual love of the outdoors was another inspiration, as they had "noticed an increasing number of plastic bags and littering around," Elouan​ Hay-Fourmond said.

The bag is made from 100 per cent cotton, which also means it is 100 per cent compostable.  This was one of the group's main desired features, and reflected their vision "keeping New Zealand beautiful".

"It takes about four to five months to decompose," Luke Nieuwenhuis​ said.

"If people throw it away or lose it, it's not going to impact the environment that much," Hay-Fourmond said.

Materials for the bag consist of fabric from By the Yard, mesh from Wiggins, and drawstring from Cordall​, all of which were provided for free. 

For the design, Gaia Enterprise approached Ara Institute of Canterbury to see if a student would be interested, and was directed to a student willing to do so.

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