The Government of New Zealand has confirmed that the mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic shopping bags will become effective from 1 July.
The decision was conveyed to retailers by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage after the union cabinet approved the proposed regulations.
Following implementation, all retail stores across the country will no longer be able to sell or offer single-use plastic shopping bags to customers.
Sage said: “Plastic shopping bags are a hazard for nature, particularly marine wildlife. They can also introduce harmful microplastics into the food chain.
“These regulations are an important first step to tackle New Zealand’s wider waste problem.
“Importantly, the mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic shopping bags signals that we need to do things very differently. Manufacturers, retailers and consumers all have a responsibility to reduce waste and prevent plastic pollution.”
The phase-out will be effective on all new plastic shopping bags with handles and up to 70 microns in thickness.
It will include lightweight, heavier boutique-style and degradable plastic bags.
Bags provided by some retailers as an alternative to single-use carriers will also be banned by the government.
Sage added: “New Zealand has recently become a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment – a global pledge to address the root causes of plastic pollution – and this work programme will help us deliver on our commitment.”