Countdown bins plastic bags
Countdown is to phase out single-use plastic bags at its supermarkets by the end of next year.
The supermarket chain’s managing director Dave Chambers says customer research found 83 percent support for phasing out plastic carrier bags.
Dave says the ban would result in 350 million fewer plastic bags ending up in rubbish tips.
"Now is the right time to take the lead, phase out single-use plastic carrier bags and introduce better options for customers."
The company looked at charging for bags but decided it wasn’t the right option for customers or the environment, he says.
SuperValue and FreshChoice and the parent company Progressive Enterprises have also committed to phasing out single-use bags but have not decided on a deadline.
Dave says customers had adapted well to the company’s first plastic free supermarket, on Waiheke Island, which started in May last year.
Greenpeace praised the company for its "bold move".
Greenpeace campaigner Elena Di Palma says it made them the "leader of the pack on plastic reduction".
The environmental group called on Foodstuffs New World to also eliminate single-use bags.
"Banning the bag is the only answer that deals with the terrible impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and sea life," says Di Palma.
"We are now calling on the new government to step in and regulate to completely stamp out single-use plastic bags."