Wednesday, May 29, 2024
8.9 C


My Account

- Advertisement -

Ditching plastic bags

One Masterton supermarket is set to swap 1.2 million plastic bags per yer for compostable bags. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE


[email protected]

A Masterton supermarket will soon be packing your groceries in compostable bags in a bid to ditch the plastic.

And a separate council-led initiative could also see jute bags given out free to Masterton residents.

Both initiatives have been sparked by community concern for the environmental impacts of single-use plastics bags, and come as New World asks shoppers to vote on whether the company will being charging its customers for the items.

Masterton Pak ‘n Save owner Paul de Lara-Bell said new compostable bags would be trialled at the store from November this year to about February or March 2018.

Customers would not notice a difference in the price tag, and would still be charged 10 cents per bag.

The bags would break down over time, and were marine safe – designed to sink if they ended up in the ocean.

He said the supermarket went through 1.2 million plastic bags per year.

That, added to what was being bundled out of other supermarkets in the region was contributing to a “huge issue” and he was keen to “make a difference”.

“Hopefully all the other supermarkets will follow suit, and if they do that’s going to be a hell of a lot less rubbish bags in the landfill.”

Mr de Lara-Bell said he was expecting the trial to go down well with customers.

“We’ll see how they hold up, they’re pretty strong.

“I’m sure everybody will be pleased to see this initiative.”

Mrs Patterson said the community was concerned about the high usage of plastic bags.

The council, alongside Trust House and the three local supermarkets, were working on a project that would see jute bags given to people in Masterton free of charge.

Mrs Patterson said it was still “early days” with details still to be ironed out, but she hoped they would be able to roll out the community initiative in December.

“We are excited about being able to do something that will hopefully help our environment.”

Masterton District Council Sustainability Advisor Agnes Piatek-Bednarek said she really hoped they would start to see a change in Masterton after the jute bags were rolled out.

“There are two things we have considered here,” she said.

“The first is the protection of the natural environment.”

Second, but perhaps more important, they needed to change the behaviour of people in the community, she said.

It was not something that would “change overnight” but based on personal experience in the UK, she recalled how the cost of plastic bags had help people switch to jute bags over time.

Countdown spokesperson James Walker said at this stage Countdown Masterton did not have any plans to move to compostable bags but they were talking to the Masterton District Council about introducing some reusable alternatives for the community.

Mr Walker said Countdown had introduced New Zealand’s first plastic bag free supermarket on Waiheke in May 2016, where they had compostable bags as an alternative.

New World Masterton was also approached for comment, but did not respond before time of publication.


  1. We all understand why plastic bags need to be obliterated
    from the environment so no more need be said along those lines.My big question (still unanswered) is : Just what do we use for the hygienic,non-porous disposal of
    household refuse? Bins will end up stinking and fly infested,with the risk of a major health hazard,particularly
    so with apartment blocks, of which we have an ever- increasing number in the larger cities.An answer,please!

  2. jute bags? YES…. but ‘compostable’? From an article i read recently: “Compostable plastic bags

    The word ‘compostable’ is incredibly misleading for the average consumer. You’d think a bag labeled ‘compostable’ would mean you could throw it in your backyard compost alongside your fruit and vegie scraps, right? Wrong. Compostable bags biodegrade, but only under certain conditions.

    Compostable bags need to be composted in a specific composting facility, of which there are very few of in Australia. Compostable bags are generally made from plant material that return to base organic components when processed by these facilities, but the problem lies in the fact there are thus far only 150 of these facilities Australia wide.” I imagine specific composting facilities are few and far between in NZ too…. ? Anyone? Zero plastic, certainly zero single use plastic is the way to go.

  3. Unsure why its the councils responsibility to give reusable bags for free( which arent free our rates will pay for it – hello rate increase again), seems like all commercial enterprises are free to produce whatever they like with no consequence and joe bloggs gets taxed and charged for all the repercussions of that.

  4. Just about every grocery store and others in Austin Texas will not provide bags to pack your groceries etc. They expect you to bring your own bags which they sell, even insulated bags all at a very reasonable price.

  5. How is sinking in the ocean “marine safe” ? What are these bags made from? Who will compost them? Are they home compostable or do they require a commercial composting facility? Nothing composts in landfill. Stick to the reusable jute bag idea guys!

    • These bags will be great in home composting or even buried in your backyard! Going to land fill….the bags will breakdown in under 30 days…and your problem is what??? Jute bags are good…but only 10% of Kiwis use them! And you can’t throw your sports gear or togs in a jute bag! Need a practical solution…and compostable bags are IT! Come on Kiwis, lets catch up to the rest of the World!

        • There are a lot of different types of “compostable” bags. I haven’t read into it but I’m pretty sure these won’t biodegrade in your backyard. They probably require an industrial composter (does Masterton have one of these??). If they go to a landfill they will also not compost, just like food waste doesn’t. It’s better than regular plastic bags but they still require energy and resources to produce and transport and then to be disposed of again after being used once. Reusable bags are the way to go (and yes you can use those for your sports gear and togs too)

Comments are closed.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
light rain
8.9 ° C
9.9 °
8.9 °
92 %
100 %
9 °
13 °
16 °
18 °
12 °