New Zealand to ban single-use plastic bags

It is estimated that up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year

A number of countries and states have introduced bans or restrictions on single-use plastic bags, including France, Belgium, China, Hawaii and California.

"We're phasing out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand's clean, green reputation".

"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", Pejman Okhovat, chief executive of The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, said.

New Zealand became the latest country on Friday to outlaw single-use plastic shopping bags, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying they will be phased out over the next year as a "meaningful step" towards reducing pollution. "The crisis we're facing requires comprehensive regulation and corporate action to immediately move away from single-use plastics".

The public are able to give their views on the change until September 14, which includes options when the complete phase-out date should be and retailers that should be exempt.

Despite the overwhelming support for the ban, it was also met with opposition.

Ms Ardern said the government had listened to those who had signed the petition.

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Single use plastic bags (file picture).

She's confident New Zealanders would also embrace the change.

The group said it would begin to offer a range of pay-for plastic-free reusable bags.

Are biodegradable and compostable bags included in this consultation? Some retailers have begun implement their bans.

"The government's efforts needs to begin with a ban on plastic bags, but quickly move on to eliminate other single use plastic offenders like coffee stirrers, straws and cutlery and then setting up a nationwide container deposit scheme for drink bottle collection", says Hunter.

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.

Plastic shopping bags are a major source of pollution at beaches in New Zealand. But right now New Zealand has no such plan.

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