Angela’s cash is a novel idea
March 25, 2019
New Zealand’s biggest bank, ANZ, is set to swap plastic money bags for paper – a now international change initiated by Wellington staff member Angela Keown.
Keown (45), a concierge at the Willis Street branch, said she was in a unique position to notice how many plastic money bags were being given to customers.
“Then the supermarkets started promising to get rid of plastic bags by January 1. I thought, ‘wait a minute, we are a big corporate brand in New Zealand, we should be taking a lead on this too’.”
The next day, two customers turned down a plastic bag from Keown. She decided she had to do something.
When general manager David Graham was visiting the branch she told him about her idea.
“He told me to put my thoughts in an email and he would make sure it was seen by the right people.”
Soon after, the ANZ re-engineering team contacted other branches to research what a functioning replacement bag would look like.
They then presented Keown a prototype, which was the same shape, except paper and recyclable.
She said she felt “absolutely gobsmacked” that she could pitch an idea and the bank would make it happen.
“It makes me feel empowered to make more change. It just shows the power of talking about these things.”
ANZ customer and Department of Conservation education and outreach co-ordinator Ben Moorhouse, 31, was pleased by the change but wouldn’t stop encouraging big companies to fix their ways.
“I think it’s important for us as consumers to keep pushing for that change. We can celebrate it but shouldn’t assume the battle is over.”