After just one month of introducing a 5 cent charge for plastic bags Foodstuffs have announced a 60% reduction in plastic bag numbers compared to the same time last year. In the same week both Wellington and Auckland supermarkets, despite the success, backed down on the charge in response to customer feedback.
In the same week the NZ Packaging council announced they had achieved, in fact exceeded, their five year 20% target for plastic bag reduction. 22% in five years with the Packaging Council’s voluntary scheme or 60% in four weeks; not hard to see which scheme is more effective. NZ22% pure, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…
Needless to say environmental groups and campaigners across the country were extremely disappointed with the back down. Well done to Foodstuffs South Island for sticking to their guns and for South Island shoppers for showing such strong support for the initiative. Don’t forget to pass on your support to our local New World and Four Square supermarkets!
The debate about plastic bags has raged strongly in the last week – Are they really a big problem? Surely there are bigger issues? Why don’t you campaign against plastic containers for olives at the deli counter? Plastic bags are great I use them for my rubbish? Don’t landfills need plastic bags? etc etc….
In the words of Sue Coutts, GetReal spokesperson and Wanaka Wastebusters manager
“It’s the Harry Potter theory; it’s your choices that make you who you are. Taking your own bags to the shops is not so much about how many micrograms of plastic are in a bag that you are not taking. The real issue is that you are marking yourself as someone who gives a shit. You are saying I actually care and I’m going to do something about it.…If we can’t sort out these little tiny problems like plastic bags we haven’t got a hope of sorting out some of the bigger things”.
From interview with Paul Henry (plastic bag lover) on TVNZ breakfast
show. Click here to listen to the whole interview