Rubbishing plastic bags improves environment

Scott Simpson
We congratulate Countdown and New World supermarkets for taking an industry-led response to combat the usage of single-use plastic bags.

Countdown recently announced that single-use plastic carrier bags will be phased out from their stores and online shopping by the end of 2018, and New World has today announced that they will aim to phase out single use plastic bags by the end of 2018 as well through measures such as the introduction of a voluntary 10 cent levy on single-use plastic bags.

Determination to improve

The Government encourages voluntary approaches by businesses and communities that promote reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering resources.

Both initiatives announced by Countdown and New World highlight that industry has the ability and determination to improve environmental outcomes in New Zealand.

I met with representatives from local government, industry, business, and communities to identify options to reduce plastic bag consumption.

I am pleased with the progress that has been made since I became Associate Environment Minister.

Typically, most cost effective and efficient solutions are industry lead. These announcements show the sector can move voluntarily without the need for heavy-handed regulation.

By encouraging behaviour change and increasing infrastructure and services to support recycling, I believe we will continue to see plastic waste minimisation in New Zealand.

I encourage all New Zealand businesses to follow the leadership of these supermarkets and take up the opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle and promote environmentally friendly behaviours.

Scot Simpson is Associate Environment Minister of New Zealand.

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