Single-use plastic shopping bags are banned in New Zealand from 1 July 2019. Businesses cannot provide you with single-use plastic shopping bags. The ban will help reduce the amount of plastic in our environment.
The ban applies to all new single-use plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness.
- light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts
- heavier boutique-style plastic shopping bags commonly found at department or clothing stores
- ‘emergency’ bags offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use plastic bag.
It includes bags made of degradable plastic. This is regardless of whether the plastic material is made from fossil-fuel or biological sources such as plants.
This includes biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable plastics bags. These are sometimes marketed as 'not plastic' and may have these icons:
Plastic bags which are not banned
The following bags are not included in the ban. (Unless they have handles for the dual use of carrying sold goods.)
- Bin liners
- Bags for collecting pet waste
- Barrier bags used when purchasing meat, and fruit and vegetables.
Also plastic packaging is not included in the ban.
Examples of bags that are not banned
If a business gives you a single-use plastic shopping bag we suggest you refuse the bag and explain that they are now banned. If the business continues to provide single-use plastic shopping bags you can report this to the Ministry for the Environment.
What you can use to carry your goods in
Alternatives to single-use plastic shopping bags include:
- long-life reusable bags in heavier-duty plastics (eg, polypropylene or polyethylene terephthalate (PET)).
- long-life bags made of lightweight synthetic fabrics (ie, nylon, polypropylene or polyester)
- cotton, canvas, jute and hessian bags and those made out of recycled fabric.
You can bring your own bags, including home-made bags (eg, flax kete), and/or backpack or wheeled trolley bag.
If you don't have a bag most major retailers sell reusable bags at a small cost or have boxes you can re-use.