As of January first, all 550 plus Foodstuffs stores will be bag free at the checkout – that includes New World, PAK'nSAVE, Four Square, Liquorland, Gilmours, Trents, Raeward Fresh, Henry’s and On the Spot convenience stores.

Steve Anderson, MD Foodstuffs New Zealand said that the cooperative is committed to minimising and reducing its environmental footprint. “We’re 100 percent behind the Government’s move on bags. Saying goodbye to single-use plastic bags at the checkout is a great start, along with changing the way we package products safely and cost-effectively.”

Anderson added that while it is a massive task with so many stores, phasing out plastic bags will be well worth it. “Making the change towards 100 percent reusable bags is a massive task but we’ve done our level best to ready our customers for 1 January 2019 with millions of bags given away over the last couple of years – and more to come. Change takes time – but New Zealanders are absolutely ready for it. The vast majority of our customers are now ensuring their reusable bags are ready in the boot, their bike panniers or their back pockets – to stash their groceries at the checkout.”

While some stores have already phased out single-use plastic bags, all Foodstuffs stores now offer alternatives to single-use plastic to customers including paper grocery sacks and long-life reusables. “The best option of all is long-life cloth reusable bags – they always have been. If customers regularly reuse these bags over many months and years, these are the best option for the environment.”