Almost half of Countdown stores announced to phase out plastic bags from September - is yours one of them?

Almost half of all Countdown supermarkets will have removed single-use plastic carrier bags from 3 September, with a further 35 stores joining the roll-out to make the change to reusable bags.

The next 35 stores are in addition to the 52 Countdown stores throughout the country that are already single-use plastic carrier bag free. All stores in the Far North District and Taranaki are included in the 3 September roll-out.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin says she hopes today’s announcement will be welcome news for communities that host thousands of visitors each year.

“The coastlines and natural features of Aotearoa are revered by locals and tourists alike but plastic pollution presents a very real threat. With the next roll out, a number of areas frequently visited by tourists can now proudly say that all their local Countdown’s are going single-use plastic bag free,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Far North District Mayor John Carter says the council supports all moves to phase out single-use plastic bags.

“We supported calls earlier this year asking the government to develop and implement a plan to eliminate single-use plastic bags and plastic straws. We know our residents are very concerned about the impact plastics and other rubbish have on our environment, so it is great to see Countdown taking a lead to reduce the problem.”

He says Countdown’s move will also reduce the total amount of waste being sent to landfill. “This will be good for the environment and will also reduce the money we all pay in landfill levies.”

Mayor of New Plymouth District Neil Holdum says the area is working towards Zero Waste 2040.

“It's a tough target to have no waste from our residents and businesses going to our landfill by 2040, and it'll take leadership from the community as well as the Council for us to reach our goal. I'm really pleased to see Countdown taking up the challenge by phasing out single-use plastic bags.

“One big reason visitors come to New Plymouth, New Zealand’s lifestyle capital, is to experience our magnificent maunga and surf. I’m looking forward to the day when I can look around and not see any plastics on our walkways and beaches.”

Since Countdown launched its reusable bag stores in May, more than 11.5 million single-use plastic bags have been removed from circulation. Adding the 35 further stores will mean 3.6 million of these bags will be removed from circulation every week.

Countdown’s next wave of stores comes after the Government recently outlined plans for a mandatory phase out of single-use plastic bags over the next year.

“The Government announcement regarding single-use plastic bags has further bolstered our efforts. We’re really pleased to be helping get Kiwis ready for a wider national phase out by helping to make reusable bags the norm,” says Kiri Hannifin.

“While we have a long way to go, this is just the beginning for us and we are proud to be doing our bit for the environment.”

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