Guidance released for businesses ahead of July plastic bag ban

To assist with preparing for the upcoming plastic bag ban, the Ministry for the Environment has released guidance for businesses.

The Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018, announced last December, ban single-use plastic shopping bags under 70 microns in thickness from 1 July 2019.

The regulations apply to all businesses in New Zealand who sell goods, including sales directly to consumers, business-to-business transactions and online sales.  They apply to small produce markets and retail stores, through to large department stores and supermarkets, and both profit and not-for-profit organisations.

The Ministry is helping businesses transition though providing advice on what to do with left over plastic bag stock, the pros and cons for alternatives to single-use plastic shopping bags, and recommended questions for businesses ask to suppliers when choosing an alternative.

Bags made of a single material, for instance, are often preferable over bags made from multiple materials because they are easier to recycle or compost and take less resources to make.

The Waste Minimisation Act allows for fines of up to $100,000 to be issued when parties deliberately breach regulations under the Act.