New Zealand to ban single-use plastic bags - Kogonuso


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Aug 11, 2018

New Zealand to ban single-use plastic bags

New Zealand will ban and phase out single-use plastic bags over the next year to protect marine life, the country's prime minister announced Friday.

In her announcement with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said her constituents want action on the proliferation of plastic bags. She noted some 65,000 people in New Zealand signed a petition this year for an "outright ban" on the bags.

The decision will have environmental implications, Arden said.

"Every year in New Zealand we use hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags -- a mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business," she said.

Sage said she was confident residents would embrace the move.

"New Zealanders are proud of our country's clean, green reputation and we want to help ensure we live up to it. Phasing out single-use plastic bags helps do that," Sage said.

Chris Wilklinson, the managing director for business consulting firm First Retail Group, backed the decision. It will level the playing field between big and small businesses, Wilson told the New Zealand Herald.

"While the key players in the retail sector have been moving quickly and decisively to shift consumers away from plastic bags, many smaller retailers have not had the same appetite -- often for fear consumers will respond negatively," Wilkinson said.

The government is soliciting feedback through Sept. 14 for people to share their thoughts on when the phase-out should end, what bags the ban should target and whether some businesses should be exempt.

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