Stoush over plastic bag ban
Supermarket staff in Australia have faced abuse and violence from shoppers who are angry about the removal of plastic bags as a ban comes into force across the Tasman. In Western Australia, a shopper put his hands around the throat of an employee at Woolworths, which had stopped giving out free plastic bags days before the ban came into force.
Could we see similar incidents in New Zealand soon, when single-use plastic bags are phased out?
Antoinette Laird, Foodstuffs NZ said: “We’re definitely all on a journey with the shift out of single-use plastic bags, however we believe there won’t be the same degree of customer frustration seen in Australia, for a few key reasons.”
“Firstly, we asked our customers what they wanted to do – and we’ve responded to that. In fact, we’ve gone further and we’ll be out of single use plastic bags in all New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square stores by the end of this year.
“Since Bag Vote, New World has given away in excess of 2 million long life reusable bags to help customers get into better habits and we’ve supported the nationwide and online BagsNot.org.nz campaign which is designed to help people transition.
“We’re trialling alternatives for people caught short without their reusable bags in selected New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square stores, which have been met with great enthusiasm from our customers.
“We’ve always charged for plastic bags in PAK’nSAVE so our customers are already most of the way there – they are used to using their own bags, boxes and the boot of their car to save money (and the planet). We’ve long offered rebates for reusables in all our New World North Island stores – funded by our owners. We offer a whole range of good value reusable bags and we’re happy to accept any bag or box at the checkout which is clean and serviceable. Many of our stores have relationships with grassroots community initiatives like Boomerang Bags.
“Having started the conversation in the first place we’re delighted that so many other retailers have now jumped on board – which makes the transition for customers out of single use plastic bags at the checkout even easier.
“Most New Zealanders are ready for the change, but we think we’re doing everything we can to get everyone sorted,” says Laird.