Plastic bag free poster.




In February this year, we went out to consumers and asked them what they would like to know about the New Zealand plastic shopping bag ban.




Here’s a sample of the most commonly asked questions:



When does the ban come into effect?

The ban starts on 1 July 2019

What are the best alternatives?

Durable reusable bags, boxes or containers made from sustainable materials

What is being done about reducing production?

The ban will directly impact production, New Zealanders have been using millions of plastic shopping bags, after then ban these will no longer be produced.

What constitutes a “plastic bag”?

The regulations define a “plastic bag” as a new or unused plastic shopping bags with carry handles that are less than 70 microns thick and provided for the purpose of distributing sold goods

Why haven’t all types of plastic been banned? Can we force a ban of more plastic now?

The ban targets one of the most abundant sources of plastic litter – plastic shopping bags make up about 8.2% of New Zealand’s coastal litter.

It was direct action from the public calling on the ban for plastic bags, in combination with strong evidence about the proportion of plastic bag litter, that lead to the ban.

Over 60,000 kiwis signed the petition.

Further action on other types of plastic waste could have the same impact.  

As a customer what can you do if you find a business still using plastic shopping bags after the 1st of July?

Contact the Ministry for the Environment. They will be following up with any retailer not participating. Those that retailers that refuse risk fines of up to $100,000.

What should we use to line our rubbish bins?

Produce bags and rubbish bags are not impacted by the ban. We recommend that you separate your organic waste for composting and try washing your bin instead. Or try using a piece of newspaper to line your bin. Look out for our instruction video coming soon.

When can we ban takeaway containers?

A review “Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa” is currently being undertaken by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Office where they are looking at the flows of all plastic material used here.

There is currently no plan to ban takeaway containers but many towns and cities overseas have. For example, New York banned the use of Polystyrene containers.

We recommend setting up a lunch library in your workplace’s kitchen – with reusable containers staff can take on their next lunch break.