A study carried out by the Waste Management Institute New Zealand in 2016 indicates broad consumer support for the introduction of a charge on plastic bags, but only if the money paid for bags is donated to charity.
According to the study, which surved 1,000 people around New Zealand, 21 percent of respondents were strongly in favour of supermarkets charging for plastic bags, and a further 19 percent were slightly in favour. However, almost equal numbers of consumers were against the charges, with 22 percent strongly in opposition, and 18 percent slightly against paying for plastic bags. The remaining 21 percent respondents were neutral.
Image: Waste Management Institute New Zealand 2016
When the 40 percent of respondents who were opposed to or neutral on supermarkets charging for bags were asked how they felt if the money they paid for bags was donated to charity, as with The Warehouse’s scheme, 42 percent of this group changed their mind, indicating they would support this.
In total, 65 percent of Kiwi consumers surveyed by the Waste Management Institute New Zealand are in favour of bag charges if the money is donated to charity.
The Government partnered with retailers and the packaging industry in 2015 to introduce a $1 million soft plastics recycling scheme enabling stores like Countdown and New World to collect soft plastics on-site. Foodstuffs reported just under a year ago that it had diverted around 20,000 tonnes of waste from landfills.
However, around 30 countries have introduced a levy or outright ban on single-use plastic bags. England introduced a 5p charge on plastic bags in 2015, and has since seen their usage drop by 85 percent.