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NZ is saying no to single-use plastic produce bags from July 1 2023

Here's what you need to know. 

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What’s happening with the single-use plastic produce bags in supermarkets?
The New Zealand government is phasing out single-use plastics, and from July 1, 2023, single-use plastic produce bags will be banned. Read more on the Ministry for the Environment website here.

2. What’s a single-use plastic produce bag?
Single-use plastic produce bags are thin plastic unsealed bags that are used to hold fruits and vegetables at the supermarket. This ban includes single-use plastic produce bags made of recyclable and biodegradable plastic. You can read more about the regulation and what else is included here.

3. When is it happening?
From 01 July 2023, single-use plastic produce bags will be banned. 

4. Why is the government banning single-use plastic produce bags?
Single-use plastics often end up as litter and can harm marine life. By banning these items, the government aims to take practical steps towards a low-waste future and healthier environment.

5. What are the alternatives to single-use plastic produce bags?
Alternatives to single-use plastic produce bags include reusable mesh produce bags, paper bags, or simply placing fruits and vegetables directly into the shopping cart. New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Squares will make paper bags available to use in store whilst continuing to work on finding other suitable sustainable options. The paper bags will be free. Stores will also be selling a small range of multi-use produce bags. 

6. When will the availability of paper bags stop?
A wait and see approach will be taken, but the focus will be on driving sustainable behaviour.

7. How will the removal of single-use plastic produce bags affect me?
You will need to bring their own reusable bags or use alternative options provided by the store to carry their fruits and vegetables.

8. Will the removal of single-use plastic produce bags lead to a shorter shelf life for produce in the fridge at home? 
Keeping produce fresh at home depends on how its stored. Some produce is best kept at room temperature, like potatoes or onions while most refrigerated produce lasts longer when kept in an airtight container to keep it from drying out. 

9. Will it take longer for me to do my shopping
There may be a slight delay at our self-scan and team member operated checkouts when the barcode on your paper bag is scanned, this is so we can tare weight accordingly and charge the correct price for the product. At our Shop’nGo scales we will be asking you to weigh your produce before putting into a bag.

10. How will my online order change?
Produce bought online will now be packed in paper bags instead of single-use plastic produce bags.

11. How can I help to reduce plastic waste in supermarkets?
You can help to reduce plastic waste by bringing your own reusable bags, using alternative options provided by the store, and choosing products with less packaging.

12. What about plastic bags for meat when packing?
Single-use plastic produce bags were banned from 01 July 2023.  Plastic bags remain available in butchery departments for health and safety reasons and to avoid cross contamination.

13. Will there be a reduction in price now that stores don’t need to purchase plastic bags?
No. The price of fresh produce is incredibly dynamic with lots of different factors influencing the overall cost, including weather and seasonality.  The key driver of price tends to come down to the fundamentals of supply and demand. All the above factors collectively determine the pricing of our fresh produce. 
We know that now more than ever, prices are important which is why we’re focused on buying well and running our stores as efficiently as we can. 

14. Why aren’t we using bio-degradable or compostable bags as an alternative instead of paper bags?
Plastic, biodegradable and compostable plastic single-use produce bags for use in the sale of loose fruit and vegetables were all banned from 01 July 2023. More information can be found here: Waste Minimisation (Plastic and Related Products) Regulations 2022 (SL 2022/69) – New Zealand Legislation.

15. How come I can still purchase compostable bags in store if they’ve been banned?
The use of compostable bags for the sale of loose fruit and vegetables was banned from 01 July 2023.  Compostable bags remain available for general sale.