New Zealand will ban plastic bags for good

The ban will affect'single-use plastic shopping bags

New Zealand's two main supermarket chains had already announced their own plans to phase out plastic shopping bags by the end of this year.

"This is a great first step, but now New Zealand needs a broad and comprehensive strategy to eliminate all sources of plastic pollution".

In 2009, The Warehouse introduced a charge for single-use plastic checkout bags.

Countdown was the first New Zealand supermarket to commit to phasing out single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018, in October past year.

It said the measure announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage responded to the petition raised by 65,000 New Zealanders to ban plastic bags and it is the "biggest subject school children write to (the Prime Minister) about".

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

Foodstuffs, which operates Pak'nSave, New World and Four Square as well as Liquorland and bulk supermarket Gilmours, will stop offering single-use plastic bags from January next year. Some retailers have begun implement their bans. "I always try and reuse my bags and the less bags in the environment the better".

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Marr said she did not believe the ban would negatively impact other small businesses. 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.

Are biodegradable and compostable bags included in this consultation?

To have your say visit www.mfe.govt.nz.

"Rogue bags are also contributing to the increased amount of plastic in the environment, and we are slowly discovering how much of a problem that is".

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

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. "We're going all out to ensure that we have very affordable reusable bag options available in our stores".

In an effort to tackle plastic pollution, New Zealand is committed to banning plastic bags for good.

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