Single-use plastic shopping bags have already been phased out from supermarkets and large retailers, and from 1 July 2019, they will be banned for all businesses. Here’s what you need to know to make the transition.
The ban covers any plastic shopping bags that meet all of the following criteria:
Bio-based plastic bags are included in the ban because even though they are made from plants, their manufacturing process prevents them from breaking down as quickly or easily as their original source.
The Ministry for the Environment has photographed examples on their site of bags that are banned and bags that are acceptable going forward.
Which plastic shopping bags are being phased out?(external link) — Ministry for the Environment
All retailers selling goods in New Zealand must make the transition by 1 July 2019. This includes businesses such as:
While most plastic bags will be phased out, some bags will still be allowed. These include:
Start to transition your business away from plastic by encouraging your customers to bring their own shopping bags. You might also offer or sell your own reusable bags for customer use.
Paper bags are allowed, but they are still considered a single-use option and require a lot of resources to produce (wood, chemicals, energy and water). If you choose to use paper products, unbleached paper and paper that includes recycled content is preferable.
You may also need to cancel any existing inventory orders for plastic shopping bags covered by the phase out.
The Ministry for the Environment has resources available to help you communicate the change to your customers. These include frequently asked questions, posters and social media that are free to use.
Plastic bag phase out(external link) — Ministry for the Environment
Answering customers questions(external link) — Ministry for the Environment
Posters for businesses(external link) — Ministry for the Environment