New Zealand to ban plastic shopping bags by next year

It is estimated that up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year

New Zealand announced on Friday that it will phase out plastic shopping bags over the next year to protect the environment and its reputation as a clean, green country.

"In fact, we spend an estimated $15 million purchasing single-use plastic bags in New Zealand alone".

"We're listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem". It's also the topic school children write to the PM the most about.

"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.

"We need to be far smarter in the way we manage waste and this is a good start", she said.

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

Eugenie Sage says many countries and major cities around the world have successfully taken action on plastic pollution in recent years. The European Commission has a strategy to tackle the 10 top polluting single use plastics.

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.

Ms Sage was confident New Zealand would embrace the change, with the Government working alongside retailers to help with the transition.

People have until Friday 14 September to share their views.

Steve Anderson, managing director of Foodstuffs NZ, said the Government's plans for a ban would put everyone in retail on the same page.

Details of the ban have yet to be released but both of New Zealand's biggest supermarket chains and several other large retailers are committed to the ban, promising to eliminate plastic bags by the end of the year.

The government is recommending reusable bags over single-use alternatives for now because New Zealand does not yet have the nationwide infrastructure established to ensure that biodegradable and compostable plastics are processed in the right way. "Today marks the beginning of the end for over 2 billion single-use plastic bags that clog our communities, coasts, rubbish dumps and oceans each year", says Hunter.

Once the bags are removed, The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 will offer a broad range of affordable, environmentally friendly plastic-free reusable bags.

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