Dave Collo, Countdown Waiheke store manager, and Deb Lyttle, BYO Bag Waiheke founder

Countdown Waiheke has taken one step forward to help the island become plastic bag-free, as part of a broader BYO Bag campaign that was launched five years ago. From May 23 onwards, the supermarket will no longer offer plastic shopping bags, and customers will be encouraged to bring their own reusable bags or purchase a new compostable bag in-store. Onecard holders will be able to buy reusable bags at only $1, and those who regularly shop at Countdown Waiheke will also receive vouchers for four free reusable bags.

“Waiheke is a unique environment. As such, there are significant challenges with rubbish needing to be transported off the island at some cost,” said Stuart Worsnop, operations managers for the Upper North Island, Countdown. “The island is already on a journey to become plastic bag-free, with many local shops making that change. At Countdown we support that, and we’re confident that both Waiheke residents and visitors will help support this commitment too.”

The BYO Bag campaign aims to educate the community on the effect of plastic on marine life, and over the past five years has held art exhibitions and ‘Plastic-free Fridays’. Waiheke local board chair, Paul Walden, and BYO Bag Waiheke Island founder, Deb Lyttle, thanked Countdown for its commitment to the cause.

“We celebrate Countdown's important initiative this year, becoming one our Local Heroes, no longer offering plastic shopping bags on the island. Each plastic bag taken out of circulation makes a difference to our marine environment so we're keen to see locals supporting Countdown, particularly because Waiheke is doing it first in New Zealand,” said Lyttle.