Countdown is the latest supermarket chain to announce a phasing out of plastic bags. Photo: Supplied.

Countdown in Nelson to phase out plastic bags from August 13

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All Countdown supermarkets in Nelson will phase out single-use plastic carrier bags from August 13, joining four other Countdown stores in Motueka and Blenheim.

A further 35 stores across New Zealand will also join the roll out then, which means nearly a third of all Countdown supermarkets will have made the change to reusable bags.

Mayor of Nelson Rachel Reese says the initiative is an example of the role the business community can play in ensuring our environment is healthy and protected.

“And in supporting a sustainable Nelson.”

Fresh Choice Nelson has also phased out plastic bags, in a move estimated to cut out about 3000 plastic bags a day in its store, or about 1 million a year.

New World supermarkets have said they will ban the bag by the end of the year. They, along with Countdown, already offer in-store soft plastic recycling.

Countdown’s general manager of corporate affairs, Kiri Hannifin, says the company is listening to the growing level of concern New Zealanders have around plastic pollution.

“Small changes can make a huge difference, which is why we are moving quickly to deliver on our promise to remove single-use plastic bags, and reduce the use of unnecessary plastic wherever and whenever possible across our business.”

This year the business has removed plastic packaging from its bananas, announced it will be removing single-use plastic straws by 1 October, and is committed to moving its in-store bakery products into New Zealand-made rPET sourced from onshore domestic plastic waste.

“These changes equate to tonnes and tonnes of virgin plastic no longer entering our waste stream. While we have a long way to go, this is just the beginning for us and we are proud to be doing our bit for the environment,” Kiri says.

Countdown’s first preference is that customers bring their own bags when they do their shopping. However, to make the transition as easy as possible for customers, there will be a range of alternatives available for purchase in-store, including the $1 Bag for Good that can be replaced in store for free when it wears out.