Countdown Encourages Customers to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle this Plastic Free July

Countdown will soon have soft plastics recycling available in more of its North Island stores, and is encouraging customers to get back into the habit of bringing their own containers this Plastic Free July after a temporary hiatus over lockdown.

From Monday 13 July, soft plastic bags and wrappers can be dropped off at Countdown supermarkets in Matamata, Bethlehem, Taupo, Rotorua (Fenton Street) and Whakatane.  There are now 46 Countdown stores around the North Island offering soft plastic recycling, and with the new Countdown stores joining the scheme, around 60 per cent of New Zealanders now have a soft plastics collection point within 20 km of their home or work.

Countdown is the only major supermarket supporting local soft plastic recycling in New Zealand.

Countdown is also welcoming back BYO containers at all in-store meat, deli and seafood counters nationwide. General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, said their customers are starting to think about plastic use in supermarkets again, and Plastic Free July is a great time to give BYO another go.

“It’s completely understandable that many Kiwis moved back to plastic during lockdown.  Shopping habits were turned upside down, and everyone’s focus was firmly on keeping supermarket visits short, safe and to a minimum,” said Hannifin.

“Now we’re seeing people start to BYO containers again, and choosing products with less packaging like loose fruit and veges.  Plastic Free July is a great time of year for people to re-set their plastic use and give things like BYO containers another go.  We have a very strict cleaning process and it’s a simple way to help reduce single use plastic.”

Plastic and packaging continues to be a big focus for Countdown, which is working on phasing out single-use and difficult to recycle plastics like PVC.  It will launch new sustainability commitments later this year, which include a number of packaging targets to be achieved by 2025.

“We’re really proud to be the only major supermarket in New Zealand supporting the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme, and helping build our local on-shore recycling right here,” says Kiri Hannifin.  “In the past 12 months alone, our Countdown customers have dropped off around 13 million individual plastic bags or wrappers, which have been recycled right here in Aotearoa into things like fence posts and cable covers.”

The five new stores joining the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme are in addition to 41 Countdown stores across Northland, Auckland, the Waikato and Wellington where the scheme is already available.  For more information on the scheme, visit