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Wednesday, March 18

Plastic bag move a positive step in the right direction

Environment Minister Nick Smith today welcomed the announcement by The Warehouse that it plans to reduce the use of plastic bags by charging customers who use them.

"More than a billion plastic bags are used in New Zealand each year and they add to the excessive waste that ends up in our landfills. I commend The Warehouse for its initiative and for its environmental leadership."

The small charge will just make people think again as to whether they really need a plastic bag.

"The move is in line with the New Zealand Packaging Accord, which aims to reduce waste, and the Make a Difference Campaign."

This approach is also consistent with the Government's Bluegreen agenda of encouraging more environmentally friendly behaviour with financial incentive rather than through regulation or prohibition.

"My hope is that other major retailers will follow today's announcement and encourage a reduction in plastic bag use."