Christchurch supermarket Raeward Fresh has introduced traditional Maori flax baskets as an alternative to plastic produce bags. The initiative has been dubbed the Kai Basket project and was developed by Lana Heart with funding from the Initiative Funds Trust.
Skilled local weavers are employed to produce the baskets, harvesting and processing the flax themselves. The material undergoes a rapid boil process which rids the plant of any mold or bacteria, making the baskets a safe and environmentally alternative for customers.
The baskets are leased to supermarkets for about $60 a year per basket, and Heart’s organization provides cleaning and repairs to the baskets as required throughout the leased period. The baskets hang neatly in trolleys, holding customers fruits and vegetables as they go to the checkouts.
Raeward Fresh owner Simon Turnbull has expressed his favour with the project and expects their supermarket will continue the use of the flax baskets past their pilot period.
This not-for-profit organisation has utilised traditional materials to provide an innovative solution to one of today's biggest consumer concerns. Both Heart and Turnball are confident that this project could begin to launch across the country and is the answer to the environmentally conscious consumer’s woes.