Multiple everyday plastic products will be banned in Aotearoa in just a few weeks.
The following items will no longer be available to use in NZ as part of the Ministry for the Environment’s initiative to cut down on hard-to-recycle plastic: Single-use plastic drinking straws, single-use plastic tableware and cutlery, single-use plastic produce bags, and single-use compostable plastic produce labels.
Single-use plastic straws will be available for disabled people and those with a health condition that requires the use of a plastic straw. More details, and alternative products you could use can be viewed here.
Plastic products first started being phased out of usage when microbeads were banned in 2018. Following that, single-use plastic bags were banned in 2019. In October of 2022, PVC food containers and polystyrene takeaway food and drink packaging were banned.
New Zealand will be the first country in the world to ban plastic produce bags, commonly provided to supermarket customers to pack their fruit and vegetables into.
“This alone will remove 150 million bags from circulation every year,” a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry told 1News. “That’s 17,000 plastic bags, every single hour.”
“The 1 July bans will affect New Zealand businesses, retailers, and consumers.”
Rachel Brooking, the Associate Minister for the Environment, believes the changes signal only the beginning of a “new era for New Zealand’s waste system.”
“The Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and the Litter Act 1979 are dated and have limited tools to address our environmental issues,” she said.
“In 2025, we’ll be banning all other PVC and polystyrene food and drink packaging and a transition to compostable plastic produce labels will begin. These phase-outs will prevent more than two billion plastic items going to landfill every year.”
“It will also encourage businesses to make thoughtful choices in replacing the products that are being phased out, to instead use packaging that is reusable or readily recyclable.”
A lot of these are common items, but single-use plastic bags at grocery stores were just as prevalent, and it feels like we seamlessly moved away from them. Here’s hoping it’s a similar transition for this next batch of items.