South Island Countdowns rid of single-use plastic bags in a fortnight

Single-use plastic bags will be phased out from all South Island Countdown stores in less than a fortnight.

Sixty-seven stores will make the change on October 8, the most ditching the bags at any one time. That includes North Island stores in Napier, Hastings, Waikato and Auckland's North Shore. 

To have an entire island phase out plastic bags is a "milestone", said Countdown general manager of corporate affairs and sustainability Kiri Hannifin.

"We're really proud to be continuing to lead the way for supermarkets in New Zealand when it comes to phasing out single-use plastic carrier bags.

"With our stores using on average around 6000 bags every day, the faster we can make this change, the sooner we can make a difference for the environment."

Countdown started phasing out single-use bags in May, saying it's already removed 22.5 million from circulation.

The supermarket plans to completely rid single-use plastic out of all its 180 stores by the end of the year.

A single-use plastic shopping bags ban was announced by the Government in August. 

Even biodegradable and compostable plastic bags will be phased out as the Government believes they are no better for the environment. 

Over the next year the Government will phase out the bags nationwide. Retailers could face a $100,000 fine if they are found selling plastic bags once the ban is in place.