The 81-store hardware cooperative has today announced it is following the lead of Countdown and New World in removing single-use plastic bags from its network. By the middle of 2018, no Mitre 10 will be handing out plastic bags or plastic boot liners.
Mitre 10 chief executive Neil Cowie says the decision follows a review of single-use plastic bags, and reflects an increased level of interest from customers on the subject.
New World kicked off public discussion about plastic bags when it introduced its online BagVote campaign, which gave consumers three options to vote on: introduce a 5 cent charge for bags; a 10 cent charge; or no charge at all. It did not include an option for phasing out bags.
Shortly before the campaign was due to end in late September, Countdown announced it was to eliminate single-use plastic bags from its stores by the end of 2018. New World later committed to the same promise.
Cowie reports that Mitre 10 began conversations with its owner-operators on plastic bags earlier in the year.
“As a group of locally owned and operated businesses, we want to do our bit for New Zealand and tackling single-use plastic bags is one of those steps we need to take.”
He says the store owners were “overwhelmingly in support” from the outset of a move to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bag waste, adding that all indications show this view is shared by Mitre 10’s customers.
“Previously, we have trained our checkout operators to ask about a plastic bag and let our customers decide for themselves rather than providing one as a matter of course. We believe that customers are now ready to take the next step and feel the time is right for us to formalise this more environmentally friendly practice of discontinuing single-use plastic bags.”
Customers will be able to purchase a reusable bag for $10, and a non-plastic alternative will be provided for car boot liners. Mitre 10 does not plan to introduce an interim charge on plastic bags during the coming phase-out period.
“We will focus on encouraging customers to prepare for the switch themselves rather than imposing an interim charge for plastic bags or boot liners,” says Cowie.
Like the grocery chains, Mitre 10 is also a member of the Soft Plastics Recycling programme and is working with the operators to expand the number of Mitre 10 stores currently participating in the initiative. The company’s approach to plastic packaging and minimising waste overall is also under review.