Your guide to the plastic bag ban

by | Jul 7, 2020 | Sustainability


One of the most common questions in response to the plastic bag ban is what to do for bin liners? I will simply answer this with NOTHING! You don’t really need a bin liner, as that’s what the bin is for, to hold your waste. If you are not satisfied with this answer, then check out our post Alternatives to plastic bag bin liners for more details on low impact options.

You might also be wondering how are you going to carry stuff? Well, many businesses are going to replace plastic bags with paper ones, which, while they do compost or biodegrade much easier, still have a big impact on the environment through deforestation. You also need to be careful of businesses that try to greenwash by offering thicker plastic “reusable” alternatives (that fall outside the ban) – these just don’t have the same reusable life as say a cotton alternative. The very best thing you can do is REUSE!!!! Use what you already have at home, the planet and your wallet will thank you for it. If you really have to buy new, buy from an ethical & sustainable brand. Get a bag that is made from natural materials or made from recycled materials.

And if you are wondering about takeaways… this is a great opportunity to BYO carry bag and container at the same time. We’ve found the majority of takeaway joints get on board with this idea very easily!


Much to our disappointment, not every “plastic bag” is included in the ban. Items such as plastic bin liners, pet poop bags, plastic bags used at the deli, seafood or meat section in your supermarket, and most annoyingly, the thin bags in the fruit and vegetable sections, are all exempt from the ban.

I would really have like to have seen the ban go further than it has, but I also understand that it becomes a lot more difficult for the government to regulate, especially when it comes to health and safety. But hey, change starts small.

About the Author

Tash McGill

Tash McGill works as a strategy consultant in tourism, hospitality and digital transformation. She is co-founder of The Feed, President of Food Writers NZ, Chair of the New Zealand Whisky Association.

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