Countdown, Fresh Choice and SuperValue have today proudly joined a New Zealand industry pledge towards using 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in their own brands by 2025 or earlier.

To celebrate signing the pledge, and as part of a wider commitment to reduce unnecessary plastic from across its business, Countdown, SuperValue and Fresh Choice have also announced they will be removing single-use plastic straws from their stores by 1 October 2018.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, said that at the end of last year Countdown signalled an ambitious new sustainability focus with the launch of 20 new commitments out to 2020.

“As part of these commitments, we are actively working to reduce the use of plastic across our entire business starting with single-use plastic bags at checkout.  We know we have a lot more to do, but today as part of delivering on our commitment to do better, we are also announcing our intention to stop selling single-use plastic straws in all our stores and online from 1 October this year,” said Kiri Hannifin.

“It’s estimated about 500 million straws are used in the USA each day.  While we don’t have figures for their use here, what we do know is that plastic straws are almost impossible to recycle because they of their size and lightness.   They also hold no value post use so are not attractive to those companies who are purchasing and re-using used plastic."

“Seeing images of turtles with straws coming out of their nostrils is confronting and although straws account for a small part of marine pollution, they cause significant harm and are mostly unnecessary for beverage consumption.”

“We hope by phasing out single-use plastic straws from our 182 store network we will be removing 11.6 million plastic straws a year from landfill, and that this will be another small step in the right direction to clean up our struggling environment, help curb plastic pollution and take pressure off our waste industry."

“In 2017 we publicly set a target to improve the recyclability of our own brand packaging.  Today’s announcements take us closer to meeting this commitment. We know that plastic waste is one of the most significant environmental challenges the world faces and we are delighted to work with our suppliers, the retail sector and the Government to make some real progress towards a cleaner New Zealand."