Countdown Waiheke Island goes plastic bag free


Countdown has announced its Waiheke Island store will be ridding plastic bags, in a wider effort to help the island become completely plastic bag free.

Instead shoppers will need to bring their own reusable bags or buy ones available in-store from May 23.

Onecard holders who shop regularly at the Waiheke Countdown store will receive vouchers for four free reusable bags, and will also be able to buy reusable bags in-store for a discounted price of $1.

"Waiheke is a unique island environment. As such, there are significant challenges with rubbish needing to be transported off the island at some cost," says Countdown operation manager for Upper North Island Stuart Worsnop.

The island is already on a journey to a full eradication of plastic bags, with many shops making the change.

"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," says founder of BYO Bag Waiheke Island Deb Lyttle.

Waiheke Local Board chair Paul Walden says this is fantastic news.

"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."

Progressive Enterprises Ltd, which owns four supermarket chains including Countdown and Woolworths, has not yet rolled-out the plan at other supermarkets, but encourages feedback from Waiheke customers.

"We have decided to make Countdown Waiheke the first of our stores to be plastic shopping bag free. This also gives us the opportunity to try a plastic shopping bag free store, which we will take insight from in the future," says Mr Worsnop.

FoodStuffs owns New World and Pak'n'Save. Pak'n'Save shoppers already have to purchase plastic bags if they wish to use them, but the company told Newshub there are no plans to make New World supermarkets plastic bag free. At this stage reusable bags are an option.

Both Progressive Enterprises Ltd and FoodStuffs supermarkets are involved in the Soft Plastics Recycling initiative, which lets shoppers recycle unwanted single-use plastic bags and other soft plastics by dropping them off at their local supermarket.