Phasing out of single use plastic bags

https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/plasticshoppingbags

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage has confirmed that single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out in New Zealand with regulations to come into force from 1 July 2019.

New Zealanders are overwhelmingly behind the phase out. Recently, 92 per cent of the more than 9,300 people and organisations who had their say in our public consultation supported a mandatory nationwide phase out.

The regulations will apply to all new plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness.

This includes the light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts, as well as 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.

Therefore, Shardlows Packaging Ltd will no longer be stocking any single use singlet bags including degradable and compostable singlet bags.

We do stock alternative products like: Paper carry bags, Organic cotton tote bags and 70mu PP nonwoven fabric bags

What type of plastic bags will the proposed phase out include?

When we say ‘single-use plastic shopping bag’ we mean the kind of plastic bags with handles commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food, and other retail checkouts.

Bin liners, bags for collecting pet waste and barrier bags used when purchasing meat and fruit and vegetables are not included in the proposed phase out (unless they have handles for the dual use of carrying sold goods).

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 the light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts, as well as 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.

Why are biodegradable and compostable bags included in the proposed phase out?

The phase out includes “biodegradable”, “oxo-degradable” and “compostable” bags. These are all types of degradable plastics.

Biodegradable and compostable plastics can be as harmful to nature as their non-biodegradable counterparts if they do not enter an environment that they are designed to break down in. Oxo-degradable bags break down into microplastics, rather than nutrients and materials which nature can absorb safely.

New Zealand does not yet have the nationwide infrastructure established to ensure that biodegradable and compostable plastics are processed in the right way. 

Further, these bags are still single-use, and we want consumers to move to multi-use options that can offer a more efficient use of resources over time.

The majority of submitters supported the proposed inclusion of ‘degradable’ bags in the phase out