42 more Countdown stores to remove single-use plastic carrier bags from 13 August 2018

30 July 2018: Countdown will phase out single-use plastic carrier bags at a further 42 stores from 13 August, resulting in more than two million less bags entering New Zealand’s waste stream each week.

This move means that nearly a third of all Countdown supermarkets across the country will have made the change to reusable bags, including all stores in Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson and Blenheim.

Countdown was the first New Zealand supermarket to announce it would phase out single-use plastic bags at its checkouts and online shopping service, and is continuing to lead the charge by building on its initial 10 store roll-out launched in May.  Already 4.2 million single-use plastic bags have been removed from circulation as a result of these first ten stores.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, says the supermarket is proud to be making real progress towards removing single-use plastic carrier bags from all of its checkouts and online shopping service by the end of the year.

“With nearly a third of our stores on board, some entire towns, cities and regions will be single-use plastic carrier bag free when you shop at Countdown. Going live in stores from Ōamaru down to Invercargill, and from Motueka across to Blenheim, will support local communities in their drive towards protecting their natural environments and improving sustainability,” says Kiri Hannifin.

“We are listening to the growing level of concern New Zealanders have around plastic pollution. Small changes can make a huge difference, which is why we are moving quickly to deliver on our promise to remove single-use plastic carrier bags, and reduce the use of unnecessary plastic wherever and whenever possible across our business.

“We are really pleased at how our customers have already embraced the change. In our pilot stores, nearly two thirds of our customers are bringing their own bags,” she says.

Removing single-use plastic carrier bags is just one way Countdown is working to reduce unnecessary plastic across its business and contribute to a circular economy by improving the recyclability of our own brand packaging.

“So far this year we have removed plastic packaging from bananas, announced we’ll be removing single-use plastic straws by 1 October, and committed to moving our in-store bakery products into New Zealand-made rPET sourced from onshore domestic plastic waste.  These changes equate to tonnes and tonnes of virgin plastic no longer entering our waste stream,” 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,” she says.

Countdown’s first preference is that customers bring their own bags when they do their shopping. However, to make the transition as easy and affordable as possible for customers, there will be a range of alternatives available for purchase in store, including the $1 Bag for Good that can be replaced in store for free when it wears out.

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