'NZ needs to turn around its rubbish record on waste' as plastic bag ban kicks in - Eugenie Sage

New Zealand's plastic bag ban came into force this morning.

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The single-use plastic bag ban is just the first step we need to take to keep our clean green image. Source: 1 NEWS

The ban follows in the footsteps of places such as Vanuatu and Samoa, as more than 100 countries around the world have made moves to outright ban, regulate or phase out the single use bags. 

Under the New Zealand ban, businesses can no longer provide plastic shopping bags to customers.

New Zealand's bag-ban journey was cemented in August last year after the Government signalled a ban was impending. 

It was spurred after a petition with 65,000 signatures by the New Zealand public was delivered to Parliament in February, 2018, after the public began pushing back against the bags in early 2017. 

Supermarkets jumped on board in late 2017, with Countdown and New World pledging to phase out the bag by the end of 2018. 

Yesterday, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the ban "should ensure less plastic ends up in rivers, streams, stormwater systems and the ocean so seabirds, fish, turtles, and marine mammals are less vulnerable to being harmed by it". 

However, New Zealand is now struggling to deal with its low grade, single use plastics, as councils stockpile, ship offshore or send it landfill. 

"Plastic bags are the tip of the iceberg… there’s a whole programme of work in the waste space to recognise that New Zealand needs to turn around its rubbish record on waste," Ms Sage said.