Selling one pack of reusable produce bags gives children the same return as selling seven chocolate bars. Isn’t it time we move to more health-conscious and enviro-friendly fundraising products, asks The Rubbish Whisperer’s founder Helen Rupp.
OPINION: Since starting The Rubbish Whisperer, one of the key areas I wanted to impact was to change the way schools, sports clubs and organisations fundraise. It is unfortunately quite common in New Zealand for fundraisers to involve the selling of chocolate bars, biscuits and other sugary treats – and this needs to change.
The real issue is simple: in one breath we’re asking our children to choose the healthy eating option and in another we’re asking them to peddle chocolate. Schools advocate healthy eating habits, they encourage kids and parents to pack healthier lunches and they provide more nutritious alternatives in their canteens.
Yes, many schools across New Zealand getting on board with banning sugary drinks on school grounds. But while the national debate continues around what Kiwi children are eating and how their sugar intake is causing dental decay and obesity, many schools are still actively encouraging pupils to fundraise with the very thing we are telling them to avoid.
Added to this, there is also a push for schools to become environmentally friendly by creating composts, making recycling more common and available, and asking children to take their rubbish home with them.
With that in mind, The Rubbish Whisperer has created a school fundraising option that involves the selling of our reusable produce bags. It is both health-conscious and environmentally friendly, prompting children to think about better eating choices, as well as their disposable plastic habits and impact on the environment.
The initiative is part of the overall plan to reduce the amount of plastic waste that individuals generate every day by offering simple and easy solutions to making good environmental decisions. Children can learn first-hand that changing one person’s plastic bag habit will have a positive effect on the environment.
More than that, selling one pack of reusable produce bags also gives children the same return as seven chocolate bars.
In the last year, 38 groups, including preschools, primary schools, high schools, choirs, churches and community groups located across New Zealand, have made a change to how they fundraise by joining The Rubbish Whisperer’s fundraising alternative.
Each fundraiser can purchase reusable produce bags at a discounted price and sell packs directly through their school or organisation. Schools are selling them by displaying it at the school office, markets, and school fairs or by sending order forms home.
Since we opened in 2014 The Rubbish Whisperer has sold more than 40,500 reusable bags across New Zealand. If each of those reusable produce bags is used once a week for 6 years, we would save approximately 12 million plastic bags. Within 10 years, that is more than 21 million plastic bags saved.
By simply changing the means by which we fundraise for things such as new sports equipment and school trips, we are creating good, lasting environmental habits for young Kiwis and the people who buy the produce bags, and promoting better eating choices for all of those involved.