Greenpeace calls on New World to match Countdown's plastic bag ban

by Ellie Hooper / 06 October, 2017
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Greenpeace's Ellie Hooper explains why there's no time to waste in encouraging New Zealand's other big supermarket chain to follow in Countdown's footsteps.

This week was a huge win in our fight against plastic pollution.

On Wednesday morning, Countdown said they’d ban the bag.

By the end of 2018, single-use plastic bags will no longer be on offer at all Countdown supermarkets, New Zealand wide.

What an incredible result.

At a time when their competitors are fumbling with sham ‘bag votes’ and levies, Countdown introduced the only acceptable solution - a total ban.

We’ve all read the statistics. In New Zealand, we generate 1.6 billion plastic bags every single year.  1.6 billion. That figure alone should be enough to shock us into action, but large companies continue to drag their feet, insisting it takes eons of time to make such a simple change.

Our planet doesn’t have the time to waste.

By contrast to Countdown’s decisive move, New World has spent mega-bucks promoting a half-hearted BagVote, offering two forms of levy with no option for an all-out ban.

They managed to create the illusion of doing something positive, while avoiding the root cause.

Countdown’s total ban has trumped them. As has the timing. While New World were busy greenwashing their image, and gearing up for the big BagVote result, their competitor was forcing change.

New Zealanders want this ban. They want to stop the plastic flood that’s polluting our oceans and harming our marine life. How many more plastic-filled creatures have to wash up on our beaches before it’s enough?

The time for change is here. In only a matter of weeks tens of thousands have signed our petition asking Government to legislate to ban the bag, and that has built on the work of many dedicated individuals and organisations who have campaigned on this for years.

This issue matters deeply to Kiwis. And so it should.

It’s unacceptable for large companies like New World to think a levy is enough, and to place the onus on the individual consumer to stop the relentless plastic tide.

If we have any hope of tackling the behemoth that is plastic pollution, we’ve got to take decisive action, right now.

Banning the bag at a national level is the fairest move on this issue. The new Government now has a mandate to introduce legislation, whoever they turn out to be.

But in the meantime, we’re calling on New World to match the ban.

At a time when one in three turtles found dead on our beaches are filled with plastic, the time for talking is over. Action is what’s needed.

Ahead of their BagVote result next week, New World need to come to their senses. The only legitimate result is to match the ban, and start making real headway on this critical issue.


Greenpeace is asking Kiwis to sign its petition for a New Zealand-wide ban on single use plastic bags. You can sign here.


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