Foodstuffs have announced today that from 1 January 2019, all retail* and wholesale brands in the 100% New Zealand owned and operated Co-operative will no longer offer plastic checkout bags.
“We’ve been part of New Zealand’s landscape for nearly 100 years, feeding and nurturing and employing millions of Kiwis. We also welcome millions of travellers to our stores as they journey through this amazing country. We consider it a huge privilege and responsibility to do our best to look after our patch for centuries to come," said Steve Anderson, MD Foodstuffs NZ, speaking on behalf of all the brands.
“The plastic bag change, our work to improve and remove plastic packaging where appropriate, our leadership in soft plastics recycling and the ban on microbeads and plastic cotton buds – all add up to major changes in the way we look after New Zealand. Since we started this conversation we’ve seen between a 20 to 36% drop in plastic bag usage in our stores – but by the time January 1 rolls around this change will have removed more than 350 million plastic bags from circulation."
Some stores in the Foodstuffs network have already gone plastic bag free at the checkout including New World Devonport and Four Square Raglan, Matakana and Martinborough. New World Howick, Marton and PAK'nSAVE Silverdale will do the same from August 29.
From 1 October, all New World, PAK'nSAVE and Four Square customers can expect to see an increased focus on reusable bags with more options available.
“By the end of March next year we will have given away a reusable bag to pretty much every New Zealander. We see our beautiful bags everywhere; on the beach, in the park, at the gym, in our stores and they’ve even been spotted at our competitors’ stores. That’s perfectly Ok – the more we all change to reusables, the faster we stop plastic bags ending up in the environment.”
In response to the fuss across the ditch about plastic bags and customer angst, Anderson said they don't anticipate the same reaction in NZ. "Perhaps it’s because Kiwis are keener to look after what we have. We’re all neighbours, we’re one big family – we look out for each other and our patch. New Zealand is ready to roll with no plastic bags at the checkout from 1 January, 2019. So are we.”
*Liquorland will transition completely out of single-use plastic checkout bags by end February 2019.