Countdown supermarkets have taken further steps to phase out plastic bags, now starting to include its South Island locations with the move.
From early next month 85 percent of all Countdown’s will have phased out single-use plastic bags. 67 stores across the chain will be added to the roll out on October 8.
Countdown’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, says to have the entire South Island network phase out single-use plastic carrier bags is a massive milestone for the business.
“We’re really proud to be continuing to lead the way for supermarkets in New Zealand when it comes to phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags. With our stores using on average around 6000 bags every day, the faster we can make this change, the sooner we can make a difference for the environment. Since we started phasing out single use plastic carrier bags in May, we’ve already removed 22.5 million bags from circulation,” says Hannifin.
The further stores are located throughout New Zealand and include the country’s third largest city Christchurch, which will have 15 stores making the change in the same week. All Countdown stores in Ashburton, Napier, Hastings, the Waikato region, Auckland’s North Shore and Timaru will also make the move away from plastic on 8 October.
Countdown is committed to having single-use plastic carrier bags phased out in all of our 180 stores by the end of 2018.
Earlier in August, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday that single-use plastic bags will be phased out in New Zealand over the next 12 months, a necessary move to preserve the country’s green reputation.
Speaking to The Register back in August, Chris Wilkinson, chief executive of First Retail Group, says most retailers have been preparing for this.
“It has not taken long for the plastic bag movement to create awareness and drive this change, however, it's important to remember that a number of retailers have been active in reducing bag use for many years now. Brands like Bunnings, Huckleberry and Nature Baby are just some that have been plastic-free for a long time.”
He says there will definitely be customers that do resist, so it is important that stores have ready solutions for them, such as boxes or paper bags.
The most important thing is not to ostracise customers that don't have their own bags, says Wilkinson, or make a big deal about being plastic-free.
“Consumers are expecting this now, so be low key in the way you change practices, but ready with other ways to pack their products to maintain goodwill. The shift in plastic bag sentiment shows just how quickly consumers can change the way businesses must operate.