New Zealand to ban plastic shopping bags from next year

Blanche Robertson
August 12, 2018

Details of the ban have yet to be released but both of New Zealand's biggest supermarket chains and several other large retailers are committed to the ban, promising to eliminate plastic bags by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the news this week, joining a growing list of countries taking action on the issue.

New Zealand has announced plans to ban disposable plastic shopping bags by next July.

"We're phasing out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand's clean, green reputation", Ms Ardern said.

Greenpeace joined the movement for a regulatory bag ban on single use plastic bags past year, quickly gaining widespread support with 65,000 signatures delivered to parliament in February 2018.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage says degradable bags will also be included in the mandatory phase-out. "The crisis we're facing requires comprehensive regulation and corporate action to immediately move away from single-use plastics".

The Government's decision to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags is being hailed by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and local government leaders. "Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags". Some retailers have begun implement their bans.

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"It think this is an awesome thing", Marr said. "I always try and reuse my bags and the less bags in the environment the better".

The Carpenters Daughter offers recycled brown paper bags and makes her own cloth bags out of fabric scraps. "It won't be a problem at all for small retailers because being small you are more individualised". Many of them end up in the ocean, "where they are mistaken for food by creatures like turtles, and swallowed", the environmental group Greenpeace said on its website, adding that one in three turtles found on New Zealand beaches swallowed plastic waste. We need to help the environment.

"Since May we've had ten stores go plastic bag-free and in those twelve weeks we've stopped five million bags going into the environment".

Are biodegradable and compostable bags included in this consultation?

The Warehouse is a founding partner of the Soft Plastics Recycling scheme which recycles plastic bags and other soft plastic packaging.

Single-use plastic bags are to be phased out, in an attempt to help New Zealand live up to its clean, green image.

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