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New Zealand to ban single-use plastic bags

12 August 2018

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 use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic 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", Ms Ardern said.

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.

"Until now, local councils have borne the cost - both financial and environmental - of single-use plastic bags entering the waste stream".

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When she made the announcement about the ban, she had three children read aloud their letters requesting the government to take action against the plastic pollution before leading them off to help clean up the beach.

Greenpeace New Zealand joined the movement for a regulatory bag ban on single-use plastic bags a year ago, quickly gaining widespread support with 65,000 signature petition delivered to New Zealand's parliament in February 2018.

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.

Caroline Marr, director of small clothing retailer The Carpenters Daughter, also welcomed the ban. "I see what plastic is doing to our world and I've always cared for it". "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". Hunter says "that means prohibiting retailers from offering plastic carrier bags unless they're designed for reusability of at least 125 uses, and preventing use of biodegradable and compostable bags to replace plastic bags".

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"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".

Steve Anderson, managing director of Foodstuffs NZ, said the Government's plans for a ban would put everyone in retail on the same page. We need to help the environment. "We're going all out to ensure that we have very affordable reusable bag options available in our stores".

New Zealand plans to ban disposable plastic shopping bags by next July as the nation tries to live up to its clean-and-green image.

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New Zealand to ban single-use plastic bags