29 May 2018
Mayor Hamish McDouall is proud that some Whanganui retailers are committed to scrapping single-use plastic bags but thinks more can be done to reduce waste in Whanganui.
Last week Countdown’s Victoria Avenue branch stopped providing free plastic bags to customers and Mitre 10 Mega will be plastic bag free from July 1 with other ‘big box’ retail outlets following suit.
Mayor McDouall says although some retailers are working towards reducing waste, he would like to see Whanganui become a plastic bag free town.
“Imagine if we were the first district in New Zealand to be fully plastic bag free. Some of our retailers are moving toward this, but there is more which could be done.
“I have seen instances where some bigger retail chains double-bag groceries or begin using plastic bags before the customer has a chance to provide their own re-useable bag. In order for our community to reduce its waste, the attitude of some retailers needs to change.”
Local Government New Zealand supported a levy (a tax, or fine) in July 2017 on retailers which use plastic bags. A similar levy introduced in the United Kingdom reduced single use plastic bag use by 85%.
“Whanganui District Council supported this levy in principle but I believe we can do so much more locally to lead by example.
“I want to encourage smaller retailers to offer alternatives to single-use plastic bags, such as paper bags, supply re-usable bags and encourage their customers to bring their own bag.”
Retailers wanting to reduce their waste can talk to Whanganui District Council about this by contacting the Council on 06 349 0001 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What are some local retailers doing to reduce plastic bag use?
The Victoria Avenue branch was one of ten branches nation-wide which stopped offering plastic bags on May 21. The supermarket will sell its own re-usable bags.
Mitre 10 Mega
The DIY store will stop supplying single-use bags and car boot liners from July 1 and will sell re-useable bags and boot liners.
New World / PAK ‘n Save
Nationwide, New World is working toward getting rid of single use bags by the end of 2018 and expanding the range of materials which can be recycled. PAK ‘n Save says it charges for bags to deliver low grocery costs and to decrease plastic bag use.
Has a ‘reduce, reuse, refill’ policy, uses reusable shopping bags and encourages customers to bring their own containers.
The Warehouse Group is replacing single-use plastic bags with fully compostable bags in May 2018.