New Zealand bans Single-Use Plastic shopping bags

New Zealand has officially banned single-use plastic shopping bags with effect from 1 July 2019. It has also introduced hefty fines for businesses that continue to provide them. As per United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) more than 80 countries have already introduced similar bans.

Key Highlights

Background: The Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018, legislation regarding plastic ban was announced in August 2018 and came into force on 1 July 2019. It is supposed to have little practical effect, as New Zealand’s major supermarkets have already voluntarily banned plastic bags.

Ban Implies: Under new rules, New Zealand retailers including supermarkets, stores and restaurants will no longer be able to sell or distribute any single-use plastic shopping bags but law allows reusable carriers to continue being provided. Only exceptions are Plastic shopping bags in fruit and vegetable section and other areas of supermarkets.

What is Single-use plastic shopping bag?

It is defined as any plastic bag which has handles and is less than 70 microns thick.

Why? The move was taken as Plastic pollution has become growing global concern. Every year nearly a million birds and over 100,000 marine mammals injured or killed by becoming entangled in packaging or ingesting it through the food chain.

Fine: Companies that will break New Zealand’s ban will face heavy penalties such as fines of up to 100,000 New Zealand dollars ($ 67,000).

Significance: Ending use of single-use plastic shopping bags would help country maintain its country’s clean and green reputation. Due to Ban people are now talking about single-use plastics and how they can phase them out.

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