The “single use” plastic bag bandwagon blunders on

Last week Countdown committed to phasing out single-use plastic bags by the end of next year.

SuperValue and FreshChoice and the parent company Progressive Enterprises have also committed to phasing out single-use bags but have not decided on a deadline.

New World said today it had put out a survey asking its customers if they would pay 5 cents, 10 cents, or prefer to keep plastic bags free of charge

Foodstuffs New Zealand managing director Steve Anderson said the overwhelming majority of the more than 170,000 respondents voted to charged for bags.

“But we missed an important question – no bag at all. Many of our customers told us via email, Facebook, phone and in-store that they wanted this option,” Mr Anderson said.

“Our customers also asked us to look harder at paper and biodegradable alternatives – both have their issues, but they are constantly being improved.”

Mr Anderson said the process of potentially going plastic-bag free would begin by giving away two million long-life reusable bags its customers this summer.

In February it would introduce a 10c voluntary donation per plastic bag at to go to environmental causes.

It would also continue its 5 cent rebate for reusable bags in its North Island stores and expand its soft recycling programme.

“It’s a big task but we are totally committed to change – we always have been,” Mr Anderson said.

As we reported the other day

Indeed, some reusable bags need to be used over 100 times before they’re better for the environment than single-use plastic bags. Polyethylene bags need to be used four times, a polypropylene bag must be used at least 11 times, and a cotton bag must be used at least 131 times, according to a study by the U.K. Environment Agency.

This plastic bag issue is nothing but virtue signalling.  Sure, it will feel good, and will make us think we’re making a difference.  But it’s farting around the edges, again.  Especially since these “single use” bags are actually used again and again.

Every household has a drawer or a place where the plastic bags get stored until another need arises.



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