three rubbish bins of descending size, with a bin liner in each

Single-use plastic bag bans have been a long time coming, but it’s only now that Kiwis are starting to prepare. Shoppers afraid of being stripped of their plastic are buying up bin liners so when January 1st comes, they’re ready.

Supermarkets are reporting a sudden increase in the sale of plastic bin liners, despite the easy availability of eco-friendly options. Compostable bags or even newspapers are available for shoppers, but many just can’t seem to shake the plastic.

That is, aside from businesses; wholesaler Gilmours reported that orders for plastic bags and straws had halved in the past six months. Sales of paper alternatives have increased by 150 percent.

Antoinette Laird of Foodstuffs called the reduction dramatic, and praised businesses for receiving the message about reducing plastic waste.

While small businesses are doing their bit, supermarkets are continuing to sell plastic bin liners. Eliminating single-use plastic in one or two areas makes a small difference, but to truly impact plastic waste it would help to eliminate the products in the first place.

A Foodstuffs spokesperson said sales data for bin liners was difficult to access. "What we can say is that we urge shoppers to consider the environment when shopping for bin liners, and perhaps even use no liner at all," he said.

Countdown recently posted a video on its Facebook about how to make bin liners out of newspaper, a nice sentiment. However, paper isn’t the most eco-friendly option; deforestation is integral to the industry.

For environmentally-minded consumers looking to replace their bin liners, Foodstuffs is right: no liner is the best liner. However, for those who can’t do without compostable bags are the best bet. There are nearly a hundred commercial composting centres around the country, and pick-up services in major centres. Many of these centres now take bioplastics, giving consumers a wider range of compostables to choose from.