New Zealand Government has implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags, which is intended to help the environment and oceans.

Prior to the ban taking effect, businesses across the country were given six months to phase-out single-use plastic bags in shops.

New Zealand Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said that shoppers carrying their own reusable bags will help local businesses and markets and contribute towards the cause.

Sage said: “New regulations mean such businesses can no longer provide their customers with a single-use plastic shopping bag to carry their purchases.

“The ban should ensure less plastic ends up in rivers, streams, stormwater systems and the ocean so seabirds, fish, turtles, and marine mammals are less vulnerable to being harmed by it.

“At the start of plastic-free July, the plastic shopping bag ban is one step to tackling New Zealand’s waste issues. We also need to recharge our materials recovery and recycling systems and shift to a circular economy.”

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In a move to educate businesses about the ban, the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is offering an information pack on its website.

In addition, an online portal has been created on MfE’s website to allow people to report businesses that still offer single-use plastic bags.

The government also noted that mainstream supermarkets have already removed single-use plastic shopping bags, saving tens of millions of bags.

Sage added: “Government regulations and the sum of many individual actions make a difference. New Zealanders remembering to take their reusable bags is stopping tens of millions of single-use plastic bags becoming waste each year.”