Plastic shopping bag phase out set for 1 July

Date:  18 December 2018

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage has today confirmed retailers will no longer be able to sell or give away single-use plastic shopping bags from 1 July 2019, after Cabinet agreed to the proposed regulations for a mandatory nationwide phase out of these bags.

Public consultation ran from 10 August to 14 September 2018 and showed strong support for the proposed regulations, with 92 per cent of submitters agreeing we should no longer have single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand.

The phase out will apply to all new plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness. This includes light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts, heavier boutique-style shopping bags and the ‘emergency’ bags currently offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use bag. It will also include bags fitting this description made of degradable plastic (ie, biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable) regardless of whether the plastic material is sourced from fossil-fuel, synthetic compounds or from biological sources such as plants.

More information is available in Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage's press release on the Beehive website. 

We have released the summary of submissions on the Government’s proposed mandatory phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand. Find out more

See Photos of plastic shopping bags being phased out