New Zealand’s plastic shopping bag ban comes into effect on 1 July 2019. The ban applies to all new or unused plastic shopping bags, with carry handles that are less than 70 microns thick, including plastics made from bio-based materials such as starch and plastics that are designed to be degradable, biodegradable or oxo-degradable and used to distribute or take home goods.
The ban applies to all New Zealand retailers, and also covers giveaways and on-line sales. Everyone from the corner diary, and local takeaway to big box retailers will need to comply. The six month phase in period is passing by rapidly, and with fines of up to $100,000 for non-compliance after 1 July, businesses need to plan for this transition now.
The good news is that New Zealand consumers are fast getting into the habit of bringing their own bags with recent research by the Ministry for the Environment showing that 50% of kiwis are already bringing their own. The early phase out by New World, Countdown, Mitre 10 and Kings Plant Barn has supported this and will help make the transition easier for smaller retailers with most customers likely to support the changes.
Keep an eye out for our Plastic Shopping Bag Ban Toolkit or get in touch for independent advice. We can advise on alternative options and create sustainable packaging specifications and guidelines for suppliers and category managers to suit your business.