Countdown to ban plastic bags by end of 2018

by RNZ / 04 October, 2017

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Countdown has 184 supermarkets around the country . Photo: Supplied / Countdown

Countdown is to phase out single-use plastic bags at its supermarkets by the end of next year.

The supermarket chain's managing director Dave Chambers said customer research found 83 percent support for phasing out plastic carrier bags.

Mr Chambers said the ban would result in 350 million fewer plastic bags ending up in rubbish tips.

"Now is the right time to take the lead, phase out single-use plastic carrier bags and introduce better options for customers."

The company looked at charging for bags but decided it wasn't the right option for customers or the environment, he said.

SuperValue and FreshChoice and the parent company Progressive Enterprises have also committed to phasing out single-use bags but have not decided on a deadline.

Mr Chambers said customers had adapted well to the company's first plastic free supermarket, on Waiheke Island, which started in May last year.

Mayors from Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin are pushing for a levy on single use plastic bags.

Greenpeace praised the company for its "bold move".

Greenpeace campaigner Elena Di Palma said it made them the "leader of the pack on plastic reduction".

The environmental group called on Foodstuffs New World to also eliminate single-use bags.

"Banning the bag is the only answer that deals with the terrible impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and sea life," said Di Palma.

"We are now calling on the new government to step in and regulate to completely stamp out single-use plastic bags."

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