Shops well on way with bag ban
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".