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Supermarkets ditch plastic at checkouts

Theo carries his groceries after New World stopped using single use plastic bags. PHOTO/ELI HILL

ELI HILL

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Several Wairarapa supermarkets have kicked off the new year by removing single-use plastic bags at checkouts.

Checkouts at Foodstuffs-owned outlets including Pak’n Save, New World and Four Square brands went plastic bag-free on New Year’s Day, with shoppers appearing to support the move.

Countdown made the move in August.

Pak’nSave Masterton owner-operator Andrew Summerville said although it was still early days the general feeling had been positive.

“We’ve put out stuff on Facebook and got plenty of likes and share and stuff. Obviously, it’s the first day so we’re still not entirely sure on the reaction.”

While Summerville had not seen a big spike in reusable bag purchases in the leadup to January he said the store had given away 3500 earlier in the year.

“I’m sure you’ll find a lot of companies will start to give away reusable bags with their products.

“The reality is everyone is moving toward being more sustainably minded.”

All six of the Masterton New World shoppers the Wairarapa Times-Age spoke to supported the move.

Jenny Adamson had been using reusable shopping bags for ten years and was glad Foodstuffs were catching up with other stores.

“Quite a lot of shops have already made the switch, and quite a few places overseas as well so it’s good to see.”

Ian Faulkner said the move to ban plastic bags was awesome.

“We do use the plastic ones but try to bring our own bags as much as we can, I think it had to happen.”

Foodstuffs managing director Steve Anderson said by the end of March they would have given away a reusable bag to pretty much every New Zealander.

“We see our beautiful bags everywhere; on the beach, in the park, at the gym, in our stores and they’ve even been spotted at our competitors’ stores.

“That’s perfectly okay, the more we all change to reusables, the faster we stop plastic bags ending up in the environment.”

Since the company had announced their intention of going plastic bag-free it had seen a 20-36 percent drop in plastic bag usage in its stores.

Although there have been similar moves to get rid of plastic bags in Australia, the change hasn’t always been accepted by customers with some supermarkets facing a backlash.

Anderson does not anticipate a similar reaction in New Zealand.

“Perhaps it’s because Kiwis are keener to look after what we have. We’re all neighbours, we’re one big family we look out for each other and our patch.”

Last year  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that plastic bags would be phased out over the next year after 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban.

1 COMMENT

  1. So only 65,000 signed the petition which means that way over 4,000,000 Kiwis didn’t sign and probably didn’t want so-called “single use” bags banned.

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