Shops well on way with bag ban

Havelock North Village Press - - News - BY GE­OR­GIA MAY

Gone are the days of plas­tic bags in Hawke’s Bay su­per­mar­kets, but how well is the new en­vi­ron­men­tal trend be­ing re­ceived?

Pretty well, ac­cord­ing to Food­stuffs. But ev­ery change comes with a few bumps along the way, and, in this case, it’s shop­pers for­get­ting their re­us­able bags.

While some push trol­leys are filled with New World’s bright red bags, oth­ers have been walk­ing to their cars timidly bal­anc­ing an over­flow of gro­ceries in their arms, curs­ing the ab­sence of their bags which sit at home by the door or in the cup­board.

New World Have­lock North is now giv­ing out a small sign to hang on rear view mir­rors, “Don’t for­get your bags”, in a bid to help peo­ple re­mem­ber.

“A few cus­tomers are a lit­tle dis­grun­tled, but the Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to ban bags un­der 70 mi­crons (with some ex­cep­tions) will be in place by July 1 this year, so we should all be used to re­mem­ber­ing bags by then,” says Food­stuffs spokes­woman Sue Hamil­ton.

“We have a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gramme un­der way re­view­ing all pack­ag­ing, hav­ing com­mit­ted to hav­ing 100 per cent re­cy­clable, re­us­able or com­postable pack­ag­ing for our Pams, Finest and Value prod­ucts by 2025.

“We’re well down the path. All our meat trays are 100 per cent re­cy­clable — we kicked that off back on 2015.”

When asked about other al­ter­na­tives for plas­tic pack­ag­ing such as pick’n’mix and meat pro­duce, Hamil­ton said it was an on­go­ing process.

“We are look­ing at al­ter­na­tives for pro­duce, also bear­ing in mind the need to sep­a­rate meat from fresh pro­duce and keep­ing food safe and in good con­di­tion.

“We will hap­pily ac­cept any clean bag or box for cus­tomers’ gro­ceries at the check­out.

“We have a va­ri­ety of re­us­able bags for sale for pro­duce and at the check­out, from just a few cents,” she said.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal change was also wel­comed in other su­per­mar­ket chains in­clud­ing Count­down, one of the first to rid it­self of plas­tic bags.

Gen­eral man­ager cor­po­rate af­fairs and sus­tain­abil­ity Kiri Han­nifin said Hawke’s Bay stores planned to cease the dis­tri­bu­tion of plas­tic bags in Oc­to­ber last year.

“The re­sponse from our cus­tomers was so pos­i­tive we were able to fin­ish our roll out 21⁄2 months ahead of sched­ule.

“Our stores have worked hard to make the tran­si­tion away from sin­gle-use plas­tic car­rier bags as easy as we can for our cus­tomers by pro­vid­ing a range of af­ford­able and more sus­tain­able op­tions if they for­get. Pleas­ingly how­ever, we’re see­ing a lot of our cus­tomers re­mem­ber­ing to bring their own bags with them when they shop in our stores.”

Han­nifin said in the past year its stores had re­moved 100 tonnes of un­nec­es­sary pack­ag­ing from their pro­duce sec­tion.

New World Have­lock North is now giv­ing out a small sign to hang on rear view mir­rors, "Don’t for­get your bags".

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