Retailers rush to support Govt's plastic bag ban

Water inside plastic inside plastic

New Zealand's government has announced a country-wide ban on all lightweight, single-use plastic bags in an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic pollution making its way into the surrounding marine environment, reports The Guardian.

"Up to 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year - that's the equivalent of one garbage truck every minute and single-use plastic bags are just the tip of the iceberg", said Hunter.

"We're listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem".

The UN said more than 60 countries had introduced bans and levies on single-use plastic items like bags.

Ardern also commented that plastic pollution is one of the main subjects schoolchildren write to her about.

"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".

"It's great that many people are already changing the way they shop".

"We've given away millions of bags and we'll continue to encourage Kiwis to get creative and hunt high and low in their homes, garages and garden sheds to find bags or containers they can clean up and re-purpose for their groceries", Anderson said.

"Without government intervention it would have taken far too long for us to say goodbye to bags".

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"We are a Government determined to face up to New Zealand's environmental challenges".

"We are absolutely thrilled the Government has begun consultation on a mandatory phase out of single-use plastic carrier bags in New Zealand", Hannifin said.

Arden reported that she underestimated the impact of plastics on the environment and was surprised by how strongly New Zealanders felt about the issue, according to The New York Times.

"We're proposing a six month phase-out period and we're confident this is a change we can make together".

People have until Friday 14 September to share their views.

This includes options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, any retailers that should be exempted, and how best to help people with the transition.

New Zealand is intending to outlaw plastic bags in a bid to cut back on waste.

Single-use plastic bags could be less common at beach clean-ups with the government announcement.

"Single-use plastic shopping bag" refers to those with handles commonly found at supermarket and other retail checkouts, and potentially thicker bags provided by some retailers.

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