Su­per­mar­kets plan to ditch plas­tic bags

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - RACHEL CLAY­TON

Count­down will phase out sin­gle use plas­tic bags from its stores and on­line shop­ping by the end of 2018.

The move would stop 350 mil­lion plas­tic bags from en­ter­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, Count­down’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dave Cham­bers said.

The ban will ap­ply to 184 Count­down stores around the coun­try.

Su­perValue and FreshChoice su­per­mar­kets will also phase out plas­tic bags, but a date has not been set.

From this week, the price of Count­down’s re­us­able bags will be re­duced from $1.39 to $1.

Cham­bers said: ‘‘We have been track­ing cus­tomer sen­ti­ment for two years and our most re­cent re­search, con­cluded in Au­gust, in­di­cates that 83 per cent of our cus­tomers sup­port phas­ing-out sin­gle-use plas­tic car­rier bags.’’

In July, Count­down’s Aus­tralian owner, Wool­worths, an­nounced it would ban sin­gle use plas­tic bags, but from next year would charge shop­pers 15 cents each for heav­ier, re­us­able plas­tic bags.

It is not yet known Count­down will do the same.

Com­postable and pa­per bags are be­ing tri­alled in Su­perValue and Fresh Choice stores.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment, the process of mak­ing pa­per bags takes al­most four times as much wa­ter, and re­leases more than three times as many green­house gas emis­sions, as mak­ing con­ven­tional plas­tic bags.

Welling­ton mayor Justin Lester wel­comed the move by Count­down, but said he would still like to see Gov­ern­ment im­pose a manda­tory levy on plas- if tic bags for all busi­nesses.

‘‘This is won­der­ful news. It is my strong per­sonal be­lief that Gov­ern­ment should leg­is­late but this is a sit­u­a­tion where the in­dus­try is tak­ing care of it­self,’’ he said.

A gov­ern­ment levy was sup­ported by more than 90 per cent of New Zealand’s may­ors.

Last month, Food­stuffs launched an on­line cam­paign to find out what ac­tion cus­tomers wanted on plas­tic bags.

Cus­tomers could choose to pay five cents per bag, 10 cents per bag, or con­tinue pay­ing noth­ing.

Vot­ing closed on Oc­to­ber 8.

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