Plastic bag ban

The Government announced today that a ‘single use’ plastic bag ban will be phased in over the next year.

I’m all for drastically reducing plastic bag use, and plastic use. Waste plastic is creating a lot of problems.

Some large retailers are already at least working towards this, so the ban will just push some of this along.

I’m less sure that a one year phase in. It mat depend on the detail of the plan – especially whether suitable alternatives become available quickly and economically.

There is a risk this will add to business uncertainty, but it will be difficult to quantify that.


Single-use plastic bags to be phased out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

“We’re phasing-out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“We’re listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me 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, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business.

“It’s great that many people are already changing the way they shop. But it’s important we take the time now to get this right so we can help all New Zealanders adjust their shopping habits.

“We need to be far smarter in the way we manage waste and this is a good start.

“We are a Government determined to face up to New Zealand’s environmental challenges. Just like climate change, we’re taking meaningful steps to reduce plastics pollution so we don’t pass this problem to future generations,” said Jacinda Ardern.

Eugenie Sage said many countries and major cities around the world have successfully taken action on plastic pollution in recent years. She was confident New Zealanders would also embrace the change.

“Public calls for action have encouraged a significant number of retailers, including supermarkets, to move on single-use plastic bags. We want to support their efforts by ensuring the retail industry moves together in a fair and effective way.”

She encouraged people to read the discussion document and share their views.

“The Government will work alongside supermarkets and other retailers to help people make the change to reusable bags and we want to hear from New Zealanders as to how we can best do this.

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

“New Zealanders are proud of our country’s clean, green reputation and we want to help ensure we live up to it. Phasing out single-use plastic bags helps do that,” said Eugenie Sage.

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.

To have your say visit www.mfe.govt.nz.

89 Comments

  1. What a good idea. Get rid of recyclable plastic bags that can be left at the supermarket to go to be made into benches and other useful things, make people buy polypropylene bags that can’t be.

    Hardly anyone only uses the supermarket bags once.

    This is very shortsighted !

    • The ban will do nothing about plastic bottles and other containers. I bought a Sunrice meal and was unimpressed to discover that its container was unrecyclable.

      The ban won’t include single-use plastic plates, cups and cutlery, either, many of which are not recyclable and almost all of which go straight into landfill.

      • Three people see nothing wrong with using non-recyclable ‘disposable’ items. How odd. I’d have thought that it would be the other way around; ban these rather than recyclable things.

    • Pink David

       /  August 10, 2018

      “This is very shortsighted !”

      Correct, but she did you a headline out of it.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 10, 2018

    Fatuous virtue-signaling that will inconvenience people and cost them time and money while achieving no detectable benefits. All to advance their project of making New Zealand poorer.

    • Gezza

       /  August 10, 2018

      Look at all the plastic bags in the foliage in my two videos In General Chat today. That’s from the stream running high after several days of rain. Imagine how many have gone straight down with the main flow into the sea 10 k away that didn’t get hung up first. Christ knows where they all come from. But they’re a bloody menace to the ecology. Up where you are they possibly still haven’t discovered cardboard? I don’t like a ban on them but – we’ve gotta do something !

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 10, 2018

        What do you suppose will be there next year from the low-lives that chuck their rubbish away like that? Probably vote Labour too.

        • Up here we reuse and recycle them for the most part and very few are chucked out to lie around as litter. The odd one does blow away; one blew away from me on a windy day and I had to let it go.

          Cardboard’s not very good at keeping things dry.

          Countdown used to dish out ridiculous numbers of bags.Now they sell them, but they are polypropylene which can’t easily be recycled because it’s sewn with thread that can’t be recycled.

          At Pak & Save one has to buy bags. They are excellent bin liners, and people who reuse their supermarket bags will have to buy bin bags.

        • Gezza

           /  August 10, 2018

          What do you suppose will be there next year from the low-lives that chuck their rubbish away like that?

          Shopping trolleys.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 10, 2018

            Plastic shopping baskets probably. Will be clogging up your stream big time.

            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              Nope. Truly. I reckon I’ll see some supermarket trolleys. It won’t be the first time. We had a rash of it a few years back.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 10, 2018

              I’m sure you are right. But I think they will co-opt more stuff as well.

            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              You’re probably right about that too – but for god’s sake don’t tell anyone I agreed with you about something.

          • Those are being chucked out now.

            Trying to get Countdown to recover one is like pulling teeth without an anaesthetic.

          • phantom snowflake

             /  August 10, 2018

            At least the shopping trolleys are… Recyclable!

            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              As scrap. They rust fast as.

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 10, 2018

              One day shopping trolleys are going to be desirable shelters, or what we nowadays call ‘houses’ … and some even refer to as ‘homes’ …

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 10, 2018

              It’s true … Shopping trolleys are effectively ‘mobile homes’ for thousands upon thousands of homeless people living on the streets, especially in America … Land of the free, home of the brave …

            • Gezza

               /  August 10, 2018

              I get your point but they’re more their car or truck. I haven’t seen anyone actually living in one. The poor end up parking up in alleys and under motorway overpasses etc. They’re not actually their homes.

            • PartisanZ

               /  August 10, 2018

              It’s just a matter of time Gezza … and homeless numbers … and population pressure … and the popularity of the ‘Tiny House’ movement …

            • Yes, Gezza; by the time Countdown bothered to recover one here, it had become useless because it was so rusty.

              They used to have a thing on them like a clamp so they couldn’t leave the carpark. If they went beyond a certain point, they’d stop dead.

            • I suppose that if they had left it there long enough, it would have disintegrated and enriched the soil.

  3. chrism56

     /  August 10, 2018

    The ban in Australia went really well (not). What makes the government think it will be any different here? Will this be a showerheads moment?

    • Did you see the Campbell Live demonstration of the proposed showerheads when a model with long hair washed her hair with one ? What a surprise; it took twice as long.

      The bag ban is just a feel-good exercise that will do nothing constructive, I use these bags until they wear out and are put in the recycle bin.Judging by the amount in them, so do many other people.

      What do people think that polypropylene bags are made of ?

      I was unpleasantly surprised at the environmental impact of cotton, polyprop and paper bags as opposed to plastic ones. I use tote bags (I have a really good nylon one that is large, strong and folds down into a little bag about the size of one of those little tissue packs so fits easily into any handbag) but can’t flatter myself that these are environmentally friendly as I had fondly imagined ! I’d have to reuse all my totes hundreds of times to make them break even, and it’s not possible to do so in one lifetime

      I see that dogpoo bags will be exempt. Why do people buy these rather than using bread bags and others that come with things in them ?

  4. Trevors_elbow

     /  August 10, 2018

    “We’re listening to New Zealanders who want us to take action on this problem. This year 65,000 Kiwis signed a petition calling for an outright ban. It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.”

    Yeah all those school kids who ‘spontaneously’ write to the PM on their own about specific topics…

    Time to depoliticise the education system and have teachers focus on teaching basic skills like reading and writing methinks ….

    May even have some positive impacts given all the stats about prisoners who cant read and write and how that is a one of the key drivers in criminal activities….

    • The fact that they focus on bags and ignore the things that can’t be recycled shows sloppy thinking. The Sunrice box was made of cardboard coated with plastic. It’s a new product ! Made of stuff that had to go into the bin ! I won’t buy it again.

      I saw a class of schoolchildren in Pak & Save doing a study of some kind, looking at things and taking notes on printed forms. Very useful, I DON’T think, as their parents do the shopping. All it did was take them out of the classroom and clog the aisles.They were good and quiet, but they were in the way of anyone who wanted to get at the products they were in front of. Waste of time all round.

    • Gezza

       /  August 10, 2018

      I’ve given you a downtick for now, Trev. I’ll come back and read this later. If I change my mind I’ll make it an uptick instead.

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  August 10, 2018

        What.Ever.Gezza!!! WEG for short…

        Getting rid of the bags may or may not be a good idea … personally think they need to change the formula so hey break down quickly on exposure to water and or sunlight
        ..

        But the rampant use of children for political causes is not on. It detracts from there education and creates 18 year old idiots who become Golriz and Chloe I.e. well intentioned but misguided SJW drones

        • Gezza

           /  August 10, 2018

          Don’t be so sensitive. Harden up. I’m the sensitive one around here. Everybody knows that !

          Getting rid of the bags may or may not be a good idea … personally think they need to change the formula so hey break down quickly on exposure to water and or sunlight

          Well amen to that but so far nobody’s come up with something that’ll be just as cheap on an industrial scale – and to be any use they’d have to break down really bloody quickly so storage would probably be a problem.

          It’s also the biggest single subject school children write to me about.

          It’s the sealife damage it now seems to be doing, Trev.

          I’m not going to like the change either, they’re so bloody convenient and I think they’re more energy efficient and less damaging to produce than paper products – but I don’t like plastic shopping bags in my waterway either. It’s got worse over the last 10 years.

    • PartisanZ

       /  August 10, 2018

      @Trevors_elbow – “But the rampant use of children for political causes is not on.”

      Damned right Trevor. No way should a child’s education have any real world relevance and/or application until they are at least 18 … and certified non-idiotic …

      • PartisanZ

         /  August 10, 2018

        @Trevors_elbow – “But the rampant use of children for political causes is not on.”

        In other words, keeping them unaware is NOT a political cause …?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 10, 2018

        Are children being taught to question authority or just believe everything they are told? Is this a consequence of the feminization of education? Or the socialization of it?

        If so it doesn’t augur well for the future.

        • PartisanZ

           /  August 10, 2018

          Maybe its a result of the ‘corporatization’ of it Alan?

          Children writing to the Prime Minister en masse is an expression of educational ‘productivity and efficiency’ …

          I know … Let’s privatize it!

        • PartisanZ

           /  August 10, 2018

          They are questioning authority! They’re questioning the authority of the Supermarket chains and, by implication, corporate-capitalist-political elitism …

        • PartisanZ

           /  August 10, 2018

          Children believing everything they were told is what got us into this situation!

          • PartisanZ

             /  August 10, 2018

            It augurs bloody fantastically for the future Alan!

            Feminization and Socialization are exactly the balances Patriarchal Viral & Cancerous, Venal Corporate-Capitalism needs …

            Sure, it doesn’t feel good if your identity is totally invested in Patriarchal Capitalism …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  August 10, 2018

              No, it just produces more useful idiots for the likes of Winston.

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  August 11, 2018

        No parti… not having primary school teachers wanting valuable education time pushing leftie political agendas..

        You wouldn’t be happy if they were writing g begging for more self reliance and studies in running a business.

        Long March through the Institutions continues and eventually it will screw the ability of our people to do just about anything requiring initiative and drive

        • I agree about people using children as human shields for their own political purposes.

          Destiny Church took children on anti-gay marches.

          It’s irrelevant to me whether the children are being used for something with which I agree or not.They are beimg exploited.

          Let them be political when they are grown up. Childhood is such a small part of a person’s life. ;let them be children for these years. not mini-protestors about things that they often can’t understand.

  5. robertguyton

     /  August 10, 2018

    The Plastic Bag Era was an idiotic one. The sooner it ends, the better.

    • chrism56

       /  August 10, 2018

      As usual Robert, your feelings trump science.
      Plastic bags use less resources than paper ones
      http://www.allaboutbags.ca/papervplasticstudies.html
      But using paper ones make you feel so virtuous, I suppose.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  August 10, 2018

        So many idiots, so little knowledge, Chris.

      • robertguyton

         /  August 10, 2018

        Fewer, chrism56. I didn’t make any claims for paper bags; you “straw-manned” that one up all by yourself, so your “suppose” is nothing more than self-chat. My comment wasn’t an expression of my feelings; it was entirely science-based; the science is in; plastic bags were a big failure. Alan’s pinched comment is without substance or value.

        • chrism56

           /  August 10, 2018

          You are right Robert, you didn’t mention paper bags but you did not mention any alternative, so you left yourself open. You said that it needs to be over without giving a change. To get your true opinion, what would you recommend the general public use as an alternative to the single use plastic bags?

          • robertguyton

             /  August 10, 2018

            Multiple-use hemp bags. I didn’t leave myself open, anymore than your having not denied a desire to throttle all sea turtles thereby negating the need to stem the flow of plastic bags into the world; now you need to defend the implications of not having made clear your position. Your “did not mention any alternative” ploy is daft.

            • Zedd

               /  August 11, 2018

              good onya RG.. ‘Hemp based alternatives’

              the thing most folks ignore; most plastics are NON-biodegradable.. takes centuries to breakdown.. cost (as usual) is what drives business to use plastic made from fossil oil !

              paper is not ideal either (from woodchips.. could use hemp too) but at least it is biodegradable, does breakdown in the landfill, in short order :/

            • robertguyton

               /  August 11, 2018

              More important, Zedd, will be behaviour change; shopping at a supermarket is a massive problem in itself. Don’t go there, don’t use their plastic bags, don’t bring home the mountain of plastic wrappers that their goods are encased in…I could go on. The Everest of plastic we each create over time is the foul legacy that’s quietly burying us all; this focus on plastic bags is merely a pointer to a massive issue.

            • Zedd

               /  August 11, 2018

              tautoko RG

              One thing I have noticed at my local PakNSave.. it is not just I, that takes a cloth reusuable shopping bag(s) some are packing in cardboard boxes now.. small steps forward but better than none.

              We do need a total mindset reset/shift too.. a ‘Green-led Govt.’ would be fantastic ! 🙂 🙂

              unfortunately; the mighty dollar is what drives so many (on the right)

            • Zedd

               /  August 11, 2018

              “HEMP for Victory !” .. over ignorance.. 🙂

            • robertguyton

               /  August 11, 2018

              Toothpaste, though, that’s the challenge! To those completely submerged in the consumer culture, toothpaste provides the opportunity to dig in and refuse to change; TOO HARD they wail! How can you get around the need for toothpaste to be packaged in plastic or foil? Anyone here got the/an answer? I know of a way through the issue, but it would be interesting to hear if anyone hear is creative enough to see past the “I have to have what I’ve always have – the Greens want to take us back to the Stone Age!! (boohoo).

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  August 10, 2018

          If you read Chris’s article you would see it covers all the alternatives, not just paper bags.

          • robertguyton

             /  August 10, 2018

            From the article:
            “The science shows that plastic shopping bags have a much lower carbon footprint and global warming potential than paper and reusables, if the reusables are not re-used multiple times.
            Not used multiple times???
            Please!!
            My hemp-bags (hypothetical) would be used hundreds of times, repaired if necessary, composted if beyond repair. You folk seem to lack imagination.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 10, 2018

              Fyi – I already use up-cycled cloth bags if ever I shop at the supermarket. I usually buy from the local environment centre food coop and they certainly don’t provide plastic bags; they’d be chastised by their customers if they did.

            • chrism56

               /  August 10, 2018

              If you actually looked at hemp bags on the website, it is there. Use hundreds of times? I use open weave material bags for my shopping and they don’t do many trips before the seams blow out. And they aren’t very good at holding products like flour.

            • chrism56

               /  August 10, 2018

              And hemp bags aren’t that good at picking up dogshit.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 10, 2018

              Do the check-out girls at your local supermarket pour loose flour straight into your plastic bag, chrism56? In any case, we have a mill and grind our own, mostly and the grain can be poured into whatever you want it to be. If your woven bag is not lasting the distance, you should reconsider how you are using it; loading it up with tins of baked beans and spam isn’t ideal if long-life is what you desire for your shopping bag. I don’t over-load mine and they last a very long time. Tuff, that’s the stuff.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 10, 2018

              Bags, be they hemp or plastic, don’t pick up dogs shit, chrism56; people do (or should). Shoes too and tyres, but bags; perhaps where you come from, but not around these parts.

      • Gezza

         /  August 10, 2018

        Right down the bottom in very small print:

        “2012 ©. Content compiled by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.”

        • chrism56

           /  August 11, 2018

          That is an ad hom argument Gezza – Dispute the facts, not who compiled it. You also note they reference where they got the infor from. Your counter argument would need to do the same.

          • Gezza

             /  August 11, 2018

            It’s an observation, not an ad hominem. I couldn’t see anywhere in there that they addressed the effects of plastic bags on wildlfe in the oceans and waterways. This has become a major concern. I even watched a young duck trying for about 20 minutes to eat a plastic shopping bag just down from me in my stream a couple of months back.

            • chrism56

               /  August 11, 2018

              Gezza – the problem is not the plastic bag as such, but people littering. A very similar problem would occur with any of the bag alternatives suggested. However, stop littering and all the problems go away.

            • Gezza

               /  August 11, 2018

              The problem is the litter is plastic shopping bags. Did you see how much of it is in my stream in my videos? Those are just the ones in the foliage. You can’t see the ones in the water.
              🙈 🙉

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 11, 2018

              A tiny number of bags are litter, most seems to be McDonald’s & KFC detritus (and other such places, of course)

  6. chrism56

     /  August 10, 2018

    No Robert, I buy flours and drygoods in scoop loads into single use plastic bags. That way I get what I need and I don’t waste food. I don’t own a dog, but a lot around here do and they use their shopping bags to pick up the shit – what happens when you live in suburbia where most of the population are. You are extrapolating your circumstances to the poupulation at large. They live a different life to you. They are the ones that need the shopping bags. Unless of course you are a NSW Labour MP who got her staff to pick up the dogshit.

    • Bread bags are good for dog poo. Bread bags are good for a lot of things. It’s a fiddly job to put a wet umbrella into its little cover, but a bread bag is the perfect size for this.

      You can put quite a lot into a bread bag !

      • chrism56

         /  August 11, 2018

        Kitty – The government definitions haven’t been published or even announced, which is typical when doing social justice virtue signalling, but bread bags (and rubbish bags) are single use plastic bags.

        • So are many other bags, groan, groan.

          Has the Labour Party missed the supermarket bins for recycling soft plastics ?

          Paper doesn’t break down in landfill, it needs air to do that. An American study some years ago found that the largest component in dumps was paper. One person said that you could read all about the New Deal (of the 30s ?) in the papers still intact in landfill.

  7. robertguyton

     /  August 10, 2018

    I’m extrapolating nothing, chrism; I’ve only described what I do and suggested an alternative material for shopping bags. The droppings of dogs aren’t a concern of mine and I’ve no desire to try to suggest a solution to that issue, though I could. Your claim that dog owners are the ones who need plastic shopping bags is not precise enough for a real discussion; perhaps you mean those folk need an effective way to collect and carry their animal’s scat; plastic ex-shopping bags aren’t the only option I would think. In any case, I’m retiring for the night. Thanks for the discussion.

    • Pink David

       /  August 10, 2018

      ” plastic ex-shopping bags aren’t the only option I would think.”

      No they are not. They will be replaced with purpose made, single use plastic bags.

      • PartisanZ

         /  August 10, 2018

        That’ll be great won’t it?

        The perfect, politicized ‘free market’, corporate-capitalist, regulated supply-and-demand, managed democracy solution … also happens to be worse than the problem … and arguably the worst possible solution …

        Cause for celebration … Another “win” for somebody …

        One thing you can confidently say about corporate-capitalism …. It’s consistent!

        • Pink David

           /  August 11, 2018

          “The perfect, politicized ‘free market’, corporate-capitalist, regulated supply-and-demand, managed democracy solution … also happens to be worse than the problem … and arguably the worst possible solution ”

          Why are you babbling about free markets on a topic about the government ensuring it is not a free market?

      • robertguyton

         /  August 11, 2018

        You lack imagination. There will be innumerable alternative ways to keep streets clear of dogshit; necessity is the mother of invention.

        • robertguyton

           /  August 11, 2018

          You lack imagination (Pink David)

        • Pink David

           /  August 11, 2018

          “You lack imagination. There will be innumerable alternative ways to keep streets clear of dogshit; necessity is the mother of invention.”

          Let’s see how it turns out shall we. Your going to find there is a solution that most people find idea, and that will be plastic and disposable. Your inability to understand that is quite staggering.

          • robertguyton

             /  August 11, 2018

            You’re proving you lack imagination, Pink. The status quo is as far as you can see; there’s no better way, you chime, but there is and once stick-in-the-muds like you see everyone else moving on from what was always the way, you too will understand what creative thinking, necessity and legislation can do. It’s not a matter of seeing how it turns out; proactive and creative people shape behaviour; they don’t just accept what the roiling masses do. Do you still chuck rubbish out of your car window when you’re done with your KFC? If you are a dairy farmer (I see you in Pink Bands) do you empty your cowshed effluent straight into a creek, as was once done? Come on Pink, use your imagination!

            • Pink David

               /  August 11, 2018

              Robert, if you think you have a better solution, by all means get it out there. Lets see your imagination at work. You can then market it to all these people who need to pick up poo.

              Their reception of your ideas will tell us how useful that imagination of your’s is.

            • robertguyton

               /  August 11, 2018

              Well that would take a while, Pink David; in the meantime, how about a multi-use plastic bag with a removable, biodegradable inner-liner; the dung could be composted at home or at a station, and the outer bags reused indefinitely. As well, the inner bag could be coated in EM to speed-up the breakdown of the poo into a soil-like product that could be used in the flower bed or municipal gardens.
              Imagination isn’t the mysterious tool of the devil you believe it to be, Pink.

            • Pink David

               /  August 11, 2018

              Your imagination is so limited Robert.

              I simply imagined a world where dogs picked up their own poo and no plastic was required and the whole problem disappeared.

              You really need to go and take some classes on how to use imagination. Your life would be so much better.

            • Dog turds can’t be used for manure, as far as I know. Dogs are carnivores and this probably makes their poo unsuitable (as well as revoltingly stinky)

            • robertguyton

               /  August 11, 2018

              You are wrong about composting carnivore poo, Kitty, despite being one yourself, in name at least. My imagination, so derisively described by Pink David, has me wishing that people would feed their dogs more appropriately in order to modify the quality of their poo; I’ve a friend whose dogs, healthy and happy, are largely vegetarian. Dogs, btw, are omnivores and will even eat plastic bags, and canine excrement, for that matter.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  August 11, 2018

            Pink David, have you seen the photo of the dog who’s sweeping his own poo into a dustpan ?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  August 11, 2018

              ‘Dog uses pooper scooper.’

              Unless people can train dogs to hold on, dog poo will need to be cleaned up.

              I remember seeing people letting their dogs do it on the pavement in Europe, and just walking on. Ick, ick.

  8. I am aware of the fact that dogs are omnivores, but their innards are those of carnivores.

    I do NOT eat meat, thank you, don’t make assumptions based on nothing,

    I am a vegetarian, but my dog isn’t, although he likes some vegetables. Dogs are designed to be meat-eaters, their digestive tracts are not right for vegetables which tend to pass straight through.

    I would never try to make my dog eat only vegetables, as he can’t make that decision as I can. If a dog is ‘largely vegetarian’, then they are still eating meat. it is very difficult for a dog to be healthy on a vegetable diet.

    Dog poo is not suitable for manure; too much nitrogen, for one thing.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  August 11, 2018

      It also has the risk of parasites like worms.

      It CAN be used, but needs to have things done to it, so is hardly worth it.

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