Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s general manager of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability.

In celebration of Plastic Free July, Countdown has announced the introduction of a new 100 percent recyclable, Forest Stewardship Council certified paper bag for customers who forget to bring their reusable bags. The bag will be available to purchase for 20 cents at checkout.

Since May 2018, Countdown has removed 1899 tonnes of plastic bags from circulation in New Zealand – that’s the equivalent of eight fully loaded jumbo jets. The data released by Countdown shows that New Zealander’s have embraced a plastic bag free country.

Countdown has also revealed that almost 90 percent of customers are now bringing their own bag or not using one at all, and this number is only increasing month on month.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s general manager of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability said the company’s plastic reduction strategy has diverted 278 million single-use plastic shopping bags from landfill so far.

“Our customers are proof that Kiwis are ready to make positive changes when it comes to plastic bags. Almost 90 percent of our customers are bringing their own bags every time they shop with us, and we’re delighted that more and more of them getting behind initiatives like our BYO container trial to help reduce single-use plastic in other areas as well,” said Hannifin.

“The start of Plastic Free July is a great time for all of us to stop and think about the amount of plastic we’re using.  At Countdown, we’re taking the chance to highlight some reusable products in our stores and the progress we’ve made around reducing plastic to date, as well as answering some of the tough questions about what there is still to be done.”

In the last couple of years, Countdown has:

  • Removed 278 million single-use plastic carrier bags from Aotearoa’s waste stream.
  • Stopped selling packs single-use plastic straws, removing an estimated 11 million from circulation
  • Started using New Zealand sourced recycled plastic instead of 177 tonnes of imported virgin plastic for a range of bakery products.
  • Removed 117 tonnes of plastic from our produce sections.
  • Rolled out a trial of BYO containers in a number of our Canterbury and Auckland stores, with the intention of introducing this nationwide shortly.
  • Supported the re-start of the Soft Plastics Scheme in 24 of our Auckland stores.