Plastic bin-liner sales up ahead of bag ban
Supermarkets urge shoppers to opt for alternative products
Kiwi shoppers concerned about the looming eradication of plastic supermarket bags are bulk-buying more plastic to line their rubbish bins.
Some supermarkets are reporting a spike in sales of packaged bin liners and are now trying to encourage more eco-friendly alternatives, such as newspaper, so consumers don’t simply replace plastic with plastic.
Wholesale supermarket supplier Gilmours said orders from supermarkets for plastic bags and straws had halved in the past six months as single-use bags were phased out.
Antoinette Laid, Foodstuffs NZ spokeswoman, said the reduction was “dramatic”.
“The message about reducing plastic waste is getting through to all levels of the community including cafes, takeaways and small retail businesses.”
Sales of alternatives such as paper bags and paper straws had increased 150 per cent.
Like every other Foodstuffs brand, Gilmours would cease to offer singleuse plastic bags at the checkout from January 1.
While some alternatives — reusable bags and paper or aluminium straws — were straight forward, the phasing out of plastic bags left some consumers at a loss on how to clean up after pets or deal with rubbish.
A spokeswoman for Countdown, which came under the Woolworths New Zealand umbrella, said the company had seen a boost in sales of bin liners.
“We have a range of these available to purchase in stores including compostable options,” she said.
“We’re also keen to share ideas about potential alternatives with our customers. For example, we recently posted a Facebook video on how to make bin liners out of newspaper.”
Countdown set the ball rolling this year with its promise to ban single-use plastic bags by year’s end. It would, however, continue to sell plastic bin liners in store.
A spokesperson for Foodstuffs, which owned Pak’n Save, New World and Four Square stores, said sales data for bin liners was difficult to access.
“What we can say is that we urge shoppers to consider the environment when shopping for bin liners, and perhaps even use no liner at all,” he said.
For those who were not keen on going sans-liner, a few environmentally conscious stores offer degradable and compostable bags.
Eco Bags NZ is one. The company, which started up 12 years ago, supplies its products to selected Foodstuffs and Woolworths supermarkets nationwide and smaller retailers. Spokeswoman Clancy Simmonds said demand from supermarkets had increased in recent months, and Eco Bags now supplied a larger number of smaller retailers too.
“There are a bunch of little online places popping up now too, people wanting to become retailers of sustainable products,” Simmonds said. Meanwhile, smaller businesses are setting up, selling ecofriendly alternatives for individuals and smaller retailers.
Eco Straws is one such business, started by Aucklanders Rose Brownlie and Alex Sue after being inspired by a recent trip to Bali. “We noticed that the bars, restaurants and cafes all utilised reusable straws instead of plastic,” Brownlie said. “In New Zealand we have a clean and green reputation, but we are still overfilling our landfills with plastic and not thinking about materials that can be reused.” The business, which was currently based online, sold a range of aluminium straws as well as a paper option and pipe cleaners.
More people are choosing to do their sipping through paper straws.