New Zealand's ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect

Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick.
Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick. PHOTO: REUTERS

WELLINGTON (XINHUA) - Single-use plastic bags are officially banned for all New Zealand retailers from Monday (July 1).

As stipulated by the Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018, which came into force on Monday, New Zealand retailers including stores, supermarkets and restaurants will no longer be able to sell or distribute any single-use plastic shopping bags.

Single-use plastic shopping bags are defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick. Plastic shopping bags in the fruit and vegetable section and other areas of supermarkets are the only exceptions.

New Zealand Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said that the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags is a step towards healthier oceans and giving nature a hand.

"New Zealanders are proud of our country's clean, green reputation and want to help ensure we live up to it. The plastic shopping bag ban is one step to tackle New Zealand's waste issues. We also need to recharge our materials recovery and recycling systems and shift to a circular economy," Ms Sage said.

Mainstream supermarkets have already made the change away from single-use plastic shopping bags. Businesses were given six months ahead of the ban to phase-out single-use plastic bags.