New Zealand bans single-use plastic bags

Five of the most common items gathered during litter cleanups are plastic

KEVIN STENT FAIRFAX NZ Five of the most common items gathered during litter cleanups are plastic

Local Government New Zealand President and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says the overwhelming support from mayors around the country for change on single-use plastic bags reflects the public appetite for getting rid of plastic bags. "There is a growing sense of urgency that more needs to be done to address [plastic pollution]".

The new measure will enable the country, whose residents use hundreds of millions of the bags every year, to make a serious dent in the amount of plastics they produce and set an awesome example for generations to come.

This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban, and Ms Ardern said they were listening to those demands.

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.

On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the plan. "The crisis we're facing requires comprehensive regulation and corporate action to immediately move away from single-use plastics". Some retailers have begun implement their bans. "I see what plastic is doing to our world and I've always cared for it". "It won't be a problem at all for small retailers because being small you are more individualised".

Steve Anderson, managing director of Foodstuffs NZ, said the Government's plans for a ban would put everyone in retail on the same page. Hunter says "that means prohibiting retailers from offering plastic carrier bags unless they're designed for reusability of at least 125 uses, and preventing use of biodegradable and compostable bags to replace plastic bags".

"Around 10 per cent of the number of bags which we collect are single use shopping carrier bags".

"It's important we acknowledge that some customers may take a bit more help to get there".

"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".

Retailers are also being told to consider alternatives to single-use plastic bags, including reusable bags in heavier-duty plastic, composite bags of hessian with other materials, and long-lasting bags made of lightweight nylon, cotton, recycled fabric or jute.

Two of New Zealand's largest supermarkets, Countdown and New World, said past year that they plan to remove plastic bags from their stores by the end of 2018.

Latest News