The ban on single-use plastic bags continues as they have begun disappearing from Manawatū supermarkets with more to follow suit. Marton’s New World and the Kelvin Grove Countdown in Palmerston North were the first in this region to phase out the use of the plastic bags. Both supermarkets companies offer reusable bags for purchase at checkouts.

All Countdown stores in the region will remove the bags next week, and the other 577 Foodstuffs stores including New Worlds, Pak’n Saves and Four Squares will be bag free by January next year.

Kiri Hannifin, a spokeswoman for Countdown, said the company’s decision to remove the plastic bags was made because it was the right thing to do for the environment and customers had frequently been requesting the change.

“Since we made this announcement, we have seen a 17 percent decrease in the amount of plastic bags our customers are using when they shop with us. The response from our customers so far has been overwhelmingly positive. More and more customers are bringing their reusable bags when they shop at our stores, which is great to see. Our store teams are also working hard to ensure the transition is as easy as possible,” said Hannifin.

Each day, around 6000 single-use bags are used at Countdown stores. When all of the company’s stores ban the bags, over 250 million plastic bags will be prevented from becoming waste. Over the past year, the stores also stopped the use of nearly 70 tonnes of unnecessary packing used for its produce – the removal of plastic packaging of bananas alone made up 15.8 tonnes of the total.

Brendon Shoebridge, owner of the New World in Martin also mentioned the positive reception and support for the change from customers.