Auckland, New Zealand –  New Zealand’s government today announced it will phase out single-use plastic bags by 2019, a move Greenpeace is calling a win for people power and another big step towards addressing the global plastic pollution crisis.

Emily Hunter, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace New Zealand said:

“This could be a major leap forward in turning the tide on ocean plastic pollution in New Zealand and an important first step in protecting marine life such as sea turtles and whales, from the growing plastic waste epidemic.” 

The proposal will be open for public consultation until 14 September 2018 and will include options for the date the phase-out is to be complete by, what bags should be included, any retailers that should be exempted.

Around the world, governments are implementing strategies to end plastic pollution with measures from levies, bottle deposits to banning a wide range of single-use plastics.

“This is a great first step, but now New Zealand needs a broad and comprehensive strategy to eliminate all sources of plastic pollution. Up to 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year – that’s the equivalent of one garbage truck every minute and single-use plastic bags are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Hunter.

“It’s time for the world’s largest governments and companies to recognise that we cannot recycle our way out of this problem. The crisis we’re facing requires comprehensive regulation and corporate action to immediately move away from single-use plastics.”

Greenpeace New Zealand joined the movement for a regulatory bag ban on single-use plastic bags last year, quickly gaining widespread support with 65,000 signature petition delivered to New Zealand’s parliament in February 2018. The delivery included an open letter supported by former Prime Minister Helen Clark, actor Sam Neill, environmentalist Dr Jane Goodall, and other leading NGOs.

ENDS

Contact

Greenpeace New Zealand, Press Desk, press@greenpeace.org.nz

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org