Ten communities around New Zealand will help drive change for the rest of the country, with the first of Countdown’s stores to remove single-use plastic carrier bags from 21 May.
The ten stores selected will provide customer feedback and other learnings that will roll out across all Countdown’s 182 supermarkets before the end of 2018. Countdown was the first New Zealand supermarket to announce it will phase out single-use plastic carrier bags from its checkouts and online shopping service for good.
Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, said while change is never easy, there’s no question that getting rid of 350 million plastic bags every year is the right thing to do.
“We’ve all seen the pictures of our environment and marine life suffering because of plastic pollution, and the impact on our ecosystems is unacceptable. The debate is over on why we are doing this and now it’s time to get moving,” said Kiri Hannifin.
“These ten supermarkets are just the start, but they’re of huge importance to test what’s been in planning over the past months. Moving away from 350 million plastic bags takes a fair bit of work behind the scenes and by our team in our stores; these first stores will test our thinking, our training and our processes to ultimately help ensure a smooth transition for all of our customers and team when we make the change across the country.”
Countdown says that since it announced its decision to phase out single-use plastic carrier bags last year, customers have already reduced their use of plastic bags by just over 16% percent.
“We’re really heartened so many of our customers are already really committed to using less plastic when they shop with us. However, we know the biggest barrier to change is to get into a new habit of bringing your own bags. We’re starting to talk with customers in these first ten stores now and are really looking forward to helping them make the switch as easy as possible,” said Kiri Hannifin.
The first ten stores have been selected as they represent a range of store sizes, checkout and bag carousel layouts, cities and smaller towns:
- Aviemore Drive (located in Highland Park, Auckland)
- Roselands (Papakura, Auckland)
- Northwest (Massey, Auckland)
- Johnsonville Mall, Wellington,
- Victoria Ave, Whanganui
- Redwoodtown, Blenheim
- Ferrymead, Christchurch
- Grey Lynn (Richmond Road, Auckland)
With a strong focus on sustainability, the plastic bag target is a key part of Countdown’s corporate and social responsibility commitments, which already include the Countdown Food Rescue programme and a target towards zero food waste.