Countdown Says Goodbye to Single-Use Plastic Produce Bags

It’s the beginning of the end for single-use plastic produce bags, with Countdown today announcing a pilot to remove them in a further 19 stores from 25 July, joining the Metro Herne Bay store which opened without single-use plastic produce bags last month.

The pilot will be run in stores located throughout Aotearoa and will help Countdown understand how to make the transition to being single-use plastic produce bag free as easy as possible for customers.

Countdown’s Commercial Director of Fresh, Pieter De Wet, said that the pilot is an exciting shift in focus, after the last two years where keeping team and customers safe has understandably been the priority.

“As we get used to a new normal, we want to bring some renewed focus to delivering on the ambitious sustainability commitments we have set out to achieve by 2025, including our action on plastic. Setting a goal to be out of single-use plastic produce bags ahead of any government ban feels like a positive start.

“We get a lot of feedback from our customers about single-use plastic produce bags being unnecessary and, in fact, a growing number of our customers are already forgoing these in our stores. For those customers this change will be easy to make, but we want to make sure we bring all our customers on the journey with us - our pilot will help us do that.

“We’ll be seeking feedback from customers to see how they feel about the change and to understand what we need to do to help them make the switch to reusable options for the long-term. This feedback will be invaluable as we roll it out to more stores in the coming months.

“Currently, our customers use around 50 million single-use plastic produce bags each year. With a Government phase-out expected by mid-2023, we want to help our customers adapt to being single-use plastic produce bag free ahead of time. We’re incredibly excited to be starting this pilot and hope our customers feel proud to be leading this change.

“We were the first supermarket to phase-out single-use plastic bags at the checkout in all of our stores and well ahead of the Government ban, and we’re determined to do the same again with plastic produce bags.”

Countdown’s pilot will begin in the 19 selected stores from Monday, 25 July 2022.