New Zealand becomes first country to ban thin plastic bags

New Zealand has change into the first country to implement a ban on thin plastic bags generally utilized by grocery store prospects to accumulate fruit and greens.

The brand new ban, which went into impact on Saturday, can even prolong to plastic straws and silverware, as the federal government expands its marketing campaign in opposition to single-use plastics which account for half of the plastic produced yearly globally.

“The manufacture, sale or distribution of single-use plastic produce bags, and plastic plates, bowls and cutlery is banned,” the federal government stated.

Nonetheless, supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitality venues and well being and incapacity companies are nonetheless allowed to promote and supply plastic straws to folks with disabilities who want the straws.

Clients in New Zealand have been bringing their very own reusable tote bags to shops for carrying purchases since take-home plastic bags have been banned in 2019.

Officers estimate that on common, every New Zealander sends greater than three quarters of a ton of waste to landfills yearly.

“New Zealand produces an excessive amount of waste, an excessive amount of plastic waste,” stated affiliate setting minister Rachel Brooking.

Ms Brooking stated the 2019 bag ban had already prevented greater than 1 billion plastic bags from being utilized in New Zealand, and the brand new ban on thin bags would add an extra discount of 150 million bags per yr.

Ms Brooking stated the emphasis could be on educating folks to not use plastic bags however that officers may impose penalties on companies that select to flout the foundations.

The federal government web site stated all companies are “legally obligated to adjust to the laws” and that the ministry for the setting will first work with companies to guarantee they perceive the foundations.

“We are going to take enforcement motion the place acceptable, significantly the place systemic or ongoing non-compliance happens,” a ministry launch stated.

The Countdown chain of supermarkets has begun promoting polyester mesh bags that may be washed and reused.

Plastic trash and waste within the water of the world’s oceans

(Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)

New Zealand started efforts to minimise plastic use in 2019, when it banned thicker plastic buying bags that prospects used to carry grocery objects dwelling.

Earlier than extending the ban, officers investigated issues the newest ban wouldn’t assist the setting a lot if prospects merely switched to utilizing disposable paper bags to accumulate their fruit and greens.

“The reply was nonetheless sure, it’s nonetheless value doing this, however we actually need to scale back single-use something packaging,” Ms Brooking stated. “So we wish folks to be bringing their very own bags, and supermarkets are promoting reusable produce bags.”

Globally, round 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, half of which is for single-use objects.

Plastics by no means totally break down – they only flip into smaller plastic items which enter waterways and meals consumed by people.

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