Countdown's paper bags questioned

Countdown is preparing to remove the last of its plastic bags at checkouts, switching them out for a paper option.

The supermarket currently offers customers a reusable plastic bag for 15 cents. The bags will be banned under new legislation, along with compostable bags under 70 microns thick.

Countdown spokesperson Kiri Hannifin said the company would prefer customers bring their own reusable bags, but she's aware people forget sometimes.

"We want to make sure we have sustainable and affordable choices in-store for when they do," she said in a statement.

The new bags will be 100 percent recyclable and made from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. They will cost 20 cents each.

Not everyone is happy though. Waste educator Kate Meads told Newshub paper isn't a whole lot better than plastic.

"We're sort of basically cutting down trees to put our groceries in the bag, which is to me not an environmental option."

Hannifin said Countdown is currently looking at other parts of the business where it can reduce waste.

"This includes reducing plastic where possible, trialling different bag options in bakery, installing produce misting systems to remove the need for packaging on fruit and veggies, and supporting the return of the soft plastics recycling scheme in a number of its Auckland stores."

Countdown recently announced it would be accepting BYO containers at the deli, meat and seafood counters in selected stores. It is hoping to roll out the practice nationwide.