Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today the government's decision to ban single-use plastic bags in a bid to better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand's clean, green reputation.
Plastic bags are to be phased out nationwide over the next 12 months, with the news following decisions by other major retailers and supermarkets to eliminate the virgin plastics wherever possible.
In a statement made with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, the Prime Minister said the government had listened to the 65,000 New Zealanders who had signed a petition calling for the ban to take place.
"Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags – a mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business."
This is momentous news given the fact a single-use plastic bag made in China will travel 11,000 kilometres before being used for just 12 minutes. It then can take anywhere from 20 to 1000 years to break down.
New Zealand's largest retailer The Warehouse Group, which also operates Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7, has also announced today that it will now only offer reusable bags in its store, ahead of its plans to introduce compostable bags.
Other major retailers and supermarkets including Mitre 10, Bunnings Warehouse, Countdown, New World and Pak'nSave have already committed to phasing out plastic bags. Global sports brand adidas also made news by removing plastic bags from its stores and replacing them with paper bags, helping to eliminate approximately 70 million plastic shopping bags per year.