New Zealand-based supermarket chain Countdown has committed to phase-out single-use plastic shopping bags by introducing reusable bags across 42 supermarkets in the country.

The latest commitment will see a third of all Countdown supermarkets end the use of single-use plastic bags from 13 August this year.

Besides the 42 stores, ten Countdown units have already made the change to reusable bags earlier in the year.

The supermarket chain also welcomed the government’s decision to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand over the next year.

“We are absolutely thrilled the Government has begun consultation on a mandatory phase out on single-use plastic carrier bags in New Zealand.”

Countdown corporate affairs general manager Kiri Hannifin said: “We are absolutely thrilled the Government has begun consultation on a mandatory phase-out on single-use plastic carrier bags in New Zealand. We’ll certainly be confirming our support for a phase-out during this process.”

“A nationwide phase-out will go a long way towards stemming the flow of plastic ending up in our waterways, reduce pressure on recycling systems and provide a stronger basis for New Zealanders to change our attitudes and behaviours towards plastic use and plastic waste.

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“As we phase out single-use carrier bags from our stores, we’ll continue to share what we learn about how to make the change easy for customers. This is an initiative we hope New Zealand will embrace and we’re keen to help make that happen.”

The retailer is planning to complete the phase-out process by eliminating them from checkouts and online shopping service by the end of this year.

Hannifin added: “Phasing out single-use carrier bags is only the start of our journey to remove and reduce unnecessary plastic from across our business. We look forward to working with the Government as they firm up their plans.”