Plas­tic bag charge pro­posed

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - VER­NON SMALL

Do you take your own bags to the su­per­mar­ket check-in?

And would you take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach if you had to pay - even a small amount - for each of those plas­tic bags, with just a few items in each, that the shop gives you?

The Greens be­lieve a charge would trig­ger a huge re­duc­tion in the num­ber of one-use plas­tic bags New Zealan­ders go through, cur­rently es­ti­mated at 1.6 bil­lion a year.

So the party is propos­ing a 15c levy on all ‘‘sin­gle-use’’ plas­tic bags to cut back the num­ber pol­lut­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

The bill in the name of MP Denise Roche would im­pose the charge at the check­out, with the pro­ceeds re­cy­cled to non-profit or char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tions work­ing on waste min­imi­sa­tion and ed­u­ca­tion.

Ear­lier moves for a full ban had failed to get much ‘‘buy-in’’ but a charge had proved ef­fec­tive in low­er­ing the num­ber of plas­tic bags in other coun­tries.

The draft law was mod­elled on the UK law which last year im­posed a 5 pence levy.

It had been hugely suc­cess­ful, with plas­tic bag use drop­ping by 85 per cent in the first six months.

Prime Min­is­ter John Key said he did not back a ban, and ‘‘I am not sure in the first in­stance a tax is the right way to go’’.

‘‘We are cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to be re­spon­si­ble be­cause they are an is­sue when it somes to land­fill.’’

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