Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.
“We’re phasing-out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” says Jacinda Ardern.
“We’re listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.
“Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags – a mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business.
“It’s great that many people are already changing the way they shop. But it’s important we take the time now to get this right so we can help all New Zealanders adjust their shopping habits.
“We need to be far smarter in the way we manage waste and this is a good start.
“We are a Government determined to face up to New Zealand’s environmental challenges. Just like climate change, we’re taking meaningful steps to reduce plastics pollution so we don’t pass this problem to future generations,” says Jacinda Ardern.
Eugenie Sage says many countries and major cities around the world have successfully taken action on plastic pollution in recent years.
She's confident New Zealanders would also embrace the change.
“Public calls for action have encouraged a significant number of retailers, including supermarkets, to move on single-use plastic bags.
"We want to support their efforts by ensuring the retail industry moves together in a fair and effective way.”
She encourages people to read the discussion document and share their views.
“The Government will work alongside supermarkets and other retailers to help people make the change to reusable bags and we want to hear from New Zealanders as to how we can best do this.
“We’re proposing a six month phase-out period and we’re confident this is a change we can make together.
“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and we want to help ensure we live up to it. Phasing out single-use plastic bags helps do that,” says Eugenie Sage.
People have until Friday 14 September to share their views.
This includes options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, any retailers that should be exempted, and how best to help people with the transition.
To have your say visit www.mfe.govt.nz.
The Warehouse Group bids goodbye to 21 million single-use plastic checkout bags
New Zealand’s largest listed retail group is bypassing its transitionary step of introducing compostable bags at its checkouts and is moving directly to offering only reusable bags at its 254 stores.
The move for The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 stores coincides with the government’s proposed legislation to ban single use plastic checkout bags, a proposal that The Warehouse is endorsing.
The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery CEO Pejman Okhovat says the change is an exciting one for the Group:
“We’re really chuffed to once-again be leading the charge against plastic and removing all single-use checkout bags next year.”
“This is a historic occasion for New Zealand’s environment and we’re very proud to be standing alongside Prime Minister Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage as they propose this legislation."
Once the bags are removed, The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 will offer a broad range of affordable, environmentally friendly plastic-free reusable bags.
Part of a bigger picture
This change is the latest in the Group’s longstanding commitment to the community and environment, which includes installing electric vehicle chargers at stores around New Zealand, organising and managing The Great Community Clean Up, and carefully monitoring carbon emissions.
The Warehouse introduced a charge for single-use plastic checkout bags back in 2009, with net proceeds given back to the local community.
Since then, The Warehouse has donated close to $4.5 million to support kids’ sports teams, food banks, disability support services and many other grass roots community organisations.
“That support will not stop with the end of single-use plastic checkout bags, instead we’ll introduce new ways for our customers to support their local communities when they visit our stores and announce details of that plan in due course."
The Warehouse is a founding partner of the Soft Plastics Recycling scheme which recycles plastic bags and other soft plastic packaging.
The Warehouse Group used approximately 21m plastic bags in the calendar year 2017.