New Zealand-based supermarket New World has decided to phase out single use plastic carrier bags from its stores by the end of next year.

The firm is looking to find an appropriate alternative that will meet its customers’ requirements and environmental regulations.

New World conducted a survey with its customers called BagVote, a campaign to introduce a levy on plastic bags.

Most of the customers voted ‘yes – charge me for bags’, but it also received numerous responses requesting a complete ban on plastic bags and asking for paper and biodegradable alternatives.

The supermarket chain announced that it will introduce a 10c voluntary donation per plastic bag from 1 February next year.

The total amount will be contributed to environmental causes.

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It will also continue the 5c rebate for each reusable bag, which has reduced plastic bag usage by 20%.

Last week, another supermarket chain in the country Countdown also announced a similar initiative to stop the usage of single-use plastic bags from the end of next year.

“The government encourages voluntary approaches by businesses and communities that promote reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering resources.”

The Government of New Zealand has also appreciated the initiative of Countdown and New World supermarkets.

New Zealand Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson said: “The government encourages voluntary approaches by businesses and communities that promote reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering resources.

“Both initiatives announced by Countdown and New World highlight that industry has the ability and determination to improve environmental outcomes in New Zealand.”

Simpson also met with the representatives from local government, industry, business, and communities to discuss possible ways to reduce plastic bag usage.

Image: New World store in Wanganui, New Zealand. Photo: courtesy of Markus Koljonen.