Monday, April 02, 2007


A bunch of Kiwi retailers have announced that for them plastic shopping bags will become a thing of the past.

Bunnings gave away 3.5 million of them last year. By the end of this year there will be none in store. The Retailers Association have got on board - but their effort is limited to endorsing actions of retailers adhering to reductions "suggested" by the rather toothless Packaging Accord.

For a plastic bag recycling backgrounder read this recent British article. Many of the 17 billion British bags go to China for processing where agents can pay up to US$100 per tonne. Under EU rules it's OK to export recyclable material, but not waste.

A few Chinese villages eek out a living through reprocessing, but its "dirty, smelly, labour-intensive and poorly paid" work. What would we do if it weren't for the Chinese huh?

Oh, and for the record, plastic bags are generally better for the environment than paper.

Update: San Francisco city have banned the plastic shopping bag (yes, the whole city). FYI, its also "illegal to use someone's pre-worn underwear to clean windscreens" in San Fran.

Update: Thu 2 May: For Bunnings plastic bags are not a thing of the past afterall - yesterday they started selling them. Admirably, proceeds go to Keep NZ Beautiful.


David said...

Guv -- intriguing report re: paper vs. plastic. Are there any more recent or NZ-centric surveys on the same subject?

mikeymike said...

No David I'm not aware of any Kiwi research at all...

mikeymike said...

I just came across this press release from “Kiwi PlasticBag Concern” about their recent opinion survey.

Respondents felt that 56% of bags issued by supermarkets were not necessary.

No paper/plastic analysis but some handy local context.

mikeymike said...

...and to complete the resource list, here's the Progressive Enterprises (Countdown etc) response confirming nothing more than their commitment to the Packaging Accord.