Greenpeace is welcoming New World’s announcement this morning that it will phase out single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018.
Plastics campaigner, Elena Di Palma, says the decision reflects the power that people have to influence big institutions.
“Last month, New World gave their customers the opportunity to vote on a number of financial disincentives to using single-use plastic bags, but failed to offer a ‘Ban the Bag’ option in the poll,” she says.
“Thousands of New Zealanders were outraged and spoke up about what they felt was not a fair poll. New World listened, and this victory demonstrates the power of people standing for what’s right.”
New World’s announcement means that the two biggest supermarket chains in New Zealand will now be eliminating single-use plastic bags from their supply chain over the next year.
Last week, competitor Countdown became the first major supermarket in New Zealand to launch a phase-out of single-use plastic bags by the end 2018.
Countdown says 350 million less plastic bags a year will be taken out of the system due to the policy. A similar number could now be eliminated thanks to New World, says Di Palma.
Plastic pollution in the ocean has a devastating impact on marine life. In one recent study, one in three turtles found washed up dead on New Zealand beaches had ingested plastic.
“For more than a decade, many inspiring groups have worked tirelessly to combat plastic pollution in New Zealand. It’s thanks to their commitment that the issue of single-use plastic bags is now a mainstream concern,” Di Palma says.
“Now it’s time for us to all get together and call on the new Government to issue a complete ban on single-use plastic bags in New Zealand.
“Regulatory action gives the best outcome for our oceans and sea life, and will mean a universal approach that is fair for all retailers.”
A Greenpeace petition addressed to the Government to Ban the Bag has so far raised 50,000 signatures.