All of Countdowns 180 supermarkets will be single-use plastic bag free from the 15 October, which is two and a half months ahead of schedule. The announcement comes as a further 67 stores, including those in the South Island phase out single-use plastic carrier bags. The remaining 26 stores will make the move to reusable bags on Monday, 15 October.

Countdown is very proud to have delivered the promise to kiwis before the time. “We are absolutely over the moon to have not only been the first supermarket to commit to phasing out these bags, but also the first to actually deliver on our promise to Kiwis. A little over a year ago, we committed to phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags. Starting out, we were quite apprehensive about how it would go. Phasing out something that has been such a convenience for so long was going to be a challenge, but we knew it was the right thing to do and a lot of our customers were calling for it,” said Kiri Hannifin, general manager corporate affairs and sustainability.

The move to phase out single-use plastic carrier bags will see 350 million of these bags no longer in circulation in New Zealand each year.

“Our ability to move more quickly than anticipated and complete our roll-out well ahead of our deadline is thanks to the hard work of our amazing store teams and our passionate and proud customers who really have got behind this move. Countdown is currently trialling the use of paper bags in some bakeries for self-serve baked goods. We’re also now turning our focus to the produce and fresh sections of our stores in our wider efforts to remove and reduce unnecessary plastic and packaging wherever we can.”