Countdown to go plastic shopping bag free on Waiheke Island

18 April 2016: Countdown has today announced it will be going plastic shopping bag free on Waiheke Island from 23 May 2016.

Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags to pack their groceries in. Countdown’s reusable bags and new compostable bags will also be available for purchase in-store.

Countdown’s Operations Manager for the Upper North Island, Stuart Worsnop says the move is reflective of Countdown wanting to support the island’s journey to become plastic bag free.

“Waiheke is a unique island environment. As such, there are significant challenges with rubbish needing to be transported off the island at some cost. Waiheke is already on a journey to become plastic bag free, with many shops on the island making that change. 

“At Countdown we want to support that, and we’re confident that both Waiheke residents and visitors will help support this commitment too,” says Mr Worsnop.

Onecard holders who regularly shop at Countdown Waiheke will receive vouchers for four free reusable bags. Onecard holders will also be able to buy reusable bags in the store at a reduced rate of $1. Customers are also welcome to bring their own bags.

Deb Lyttle, founder of BYO Bag Waiheke Island says, “BYO Bag is a colourful campaign launched five years ago to encourage Waiheke Island to become plastic bag-free.

“Our focus was educating the community on the effect of plastic on marine life. We started with weekly sewing bees making reusable bags out of op shop fabrics, held a hugely-attended "Out of the Bag" art exhibition and in recent years, organised the popular "Plastic-free Fridays" with the active participation of Countdown and other retailers.

“BYO Bag celebrates Countdown's important initiative this year, becoming one our Local Heroes, no longer offering plastic shopping bags on the island. Each plastic bag taken out of circulation makes a difference to our marine environment so we're keen to see locals supporting Countdown, particularly because Waiheke is doing it first in New Zealand!”

Waiheke Local Board Chair, Paul Walden, says, “This announcement is fantastic news for the Island. Our young people at school through to our elders have been pushing for this for some time, particularly given the unique waste challenges that the Island has. It's great to see that Countdown is supportive of our goal to be plastic bag free.”

Countdown’s Stuart Worsnop says he appreciates this will be a big change for some customers. “We would really appreciate feedback throughout this process, whether that’s in store or via our feedback inbox,” he says.

Customers can email their feedback to: feedback@countdown.co.nz

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