Retailers urged not to landfill leftover plastic bags

Retailers urged not to landfill leftover plastic bags

Published: Monday 1 July 2019

With the plastic bag ban coming into force on Monday, retailers are being urged not to landfill any leftover lightweight shopping bags.

Landfilling leftover bags is a waste of resources. For the next three days, until the ban becomes law, retailers with excess bags could put them out on the shop floor and invite customers to help themselves to bags for use as bin liners. 

“For retailers who still have bags left on 1 July, we encourage them to look at alternatives before landfilling them.

"It is legal for retailers to donate the bags as long as they are used as bin liners, and not carry bags," says Programme Director – Waste Solutions, Parul Sood.

"Retailers could approach community food banks, so the bags can be included in food parcels, for families needing support to use as bin liners at home.  Otherwise, they could contact local animal welfare centres, who may be able to use the bags for disposing of pet litter or animal waste,” she says.

A plastics recycler in Christchurch is also accepting plastic carry bags as long as they are still boxed up. Robert Fowler, director of Comspec, says companies wishing to take up this option just need to pay the freight to get them delivered to his facility.  There will be no extra charge for recycling.  Visit their website for contact details. 

Comspec will only accept unused, single-use plastic bags with carry handles, made from LDPE and under 70 microns in weight. This excludes biodegradable, oxo-degradable, degradable, or compostable plastic bags as they cannot be recycled or reused.

If you own a business that currently uses single-use plastic bags, here’s a useful guide from Ministry for the Environment.