Single use plastic bag ban
Who is responsible for this legislation?
The ban is enacted by Central Government and it is regulated by the Ministry for the Environment (MfE).
If you would like to report retailers using plastic bags, please do so on the MfE’s website here.
Council is not responsible for monitoring, enforcing or infringing under this new piece of legislation.
What bags are banned?
Bags that are banned are those made of any type of plastic under 70 microns in thickness, either new or unused and with handles. Specifically:
- Light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts
- Heavier boutique-style plastic shopping bags commonly found at department or clothing stores.
- ‘emergency’ bags offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use plastic bag
Does the ban include degradable plastic bags?
The ban includes bags made of degradable plastic. This is regardless of whether the plastic material is made from fossil-fuel or biological sources such as plants.
This includes biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable plastics bags. These are sometimes marketed as 'not plastic' and may have these icons:
What bags are not included in the ban?
The following bags are not included in the ban (unless they have handles for the dual use of carrying sold goods).
- Bin liners
- Bags for collecting pet waste
- Barrier bags used when purchasing meat, and fruit and vegetables.
If I have stocks of plastic bags, where can I take them?
Comspec, a plastics recycler in Christchurch will accept oil-based HDPE plastic shopping bags as long as they're still boxed up. Get in touch with them for further details at the link here. For retailers with smaller numbers of unused plastic bags, they can be donated as long as the bags are used as bin liners, and not carry bags. For retailers with large numbers of boxed compostable bags, please contact WasteMinz for possible solutions.
Is plastic packaging included in the ban?
No, plastic packaging is not included in the ban.
Does the ban include Council refuse bags?
No, the ban does not include Council refuse bags.
Is Council looking at other options regarding continued use of single-use bags for rubbish bags?
Yes, Council is currently looking at options for rubbish, including wheelie bins. We will consult with our community on this later in the year.
Where can I get more information?