Bulk-load of bread tags to help the needy

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South Alive administration and finance manager Claire McDonagh (left) with Abbie Sansom (11) and her mother Karthryn Sansom, the organiser of the Bread Tags for Wheelchairs project.

IT takes 200kg of bread tags to buy a wheelchair.

Instead of going to landfill, or being broken down into microplastics, bread tags could be used to buy wheelchairs, Bread Tags for Wheelchairs Invercargill-based organiser Kathryn Sansom said.

For the past 14 years, the project had been run in South Africa, with the proceeds from the recycled tags used to provide wheelchairs for the needy.

Plastics company Zibo bought the tags and recycled the high-impact polystyrene, type 6 plastic into seedling trays.

About 500kg of tags were collected each month in South Africa, which funded two or three wheelchairs.

Collectors in New Zealand had been collecting tags for many years, either taking them to South Africa when they visited or posting them.

In February last year, Mrs Sansom set up the local branch of Bread Tags for Wheelchairs to promote the programme, increase collection, look into local recycling and streamline the transport of the tags.

Mrs Sansom said she had seen the project online and had been inspired to set up collection points throughout Invercargill.

A leader in the Georgetown Scout Group, she said enough tags had been collected locally to buy four wheelchairs.

“At the Scout jamboree which had been held in Mystery Creek late last year and into early January, they were used as a form of money, then they were donated to the wheelchair project.”

About 200kg of tags were needed to fund a wheelchair, she said.

She had about 10kg of tags, which she stored in a large green recycling bin before sending them to Auckland.

As well as the Georgetown Scout Group collecting the tags, she was keen for other organisations, community groups, schools, kindergartens, cafes and families to be a part of the project.

Other drop-off points in Invercargill included South Alive and The Pantry in Grace St, South Invercargill, and Southern Adventure in Tay St.

Mrs Sansom was also keen for drop-off points to be set up in north Windsor and Waikiwi.

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