Supermarkets to ban the bags by 2018
New World will go plastic bag free by the end of 2018 after the results of its BagVote showed people don’t want bags at all. BagVote originally asked New World customers if they wanted a charge of 10c or 5c, or no charge, on single-use plastic bags. The majority asked for a 10c charge, but an overwhelming number of shoppers contacted New World owner Foodstuffs asking for a total ban option. Last week, Countdown announced it would ban single-use plastic bags by 2018, but Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin said he would have banned the bag anyway.
‘‘We were out five weeks ago with the BagVote so I suspect Countdown might have responded to that actually,’’ he said.
‘‘Even with the other retailers’ announcement there is hundreds of millions of plastic bags being used at the moment, and what we really have to do is work together with customers to change shopping habits so customers bring a reusable bag into the store.’’
Quin said New World would also start to minimise other plastic packaging in stores over the next 18 months.
‘‘We don’t think banning single use plastic bags by a certain date is enough. Genuinely getting plastic
‘‘We believe the answer lies in longlife reusable bags’’ Chris Quin
out of the environment needs more action than that,’’ he said.
Quin said health and safety concerns, cost and timing needed to be looked at.
Paper bags were water and resource hungry in their manufacture, he said, and the data on biodegradable bags didn’t stack up.
‘‘More often than not they cannot break down in landfill without releasing harmful greenhouse gases and they can’t be recycled through the Soft Plastics Recycling programme.
‘‘We believe the answer lies in long-life reusable bags.’’
New World will give away 2 million reusable bags over summer, based on different promotions such as how much shoppers spend.
On February 1 next year, it will introduce a 10c voluntary donation per plastic bag at New World, which will go to environmental causes such as Sea Cleaners.
Stores will continue the 5c rebate for each reusable bag in North Island New World stores. Rebates for the South Island were being looked at.
An overwhelming number of shoppers asked for a total ban of plastic bags.