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Z stops providing plastic bags from tomorrow

Z Energy service stations will stop providing single-use plastic bags to customers from tomorrow. Z has phased out the bags over the past 6 months, in response to a groundswell of support from Kiwis for ending New Zealand’s dependency on plastic bags.

The move is part of Z’s commitment to environmental sustainability, and will take the 2.5 million plastic bags that Z previously provided each year out of circulation.

Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, says ditching plastic bags completely is a simple way to reduce waste and pollution.

“Plastic bags are a major source of ocean and river pollution. They can take up to 1000 years to degrade and even then, they never disappear completely.

“Even worse, 10 per cent of all dead animals found in beach clean-ups are entangled in plastic bags, so knowing Z’s given out its last ever bag is a good feeling,” Gerri said.

Z is encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags and won’t be replacing single-use bags with an alternative because many common replacements are potentially equally or more damaging to the environment.

Gerri acknowledges the move may inconvenience some people while they get used to the change.

“Most Z store customers buy only a few small items, so they’re well placed to make the shift to a more environmentally sustainable way of shopping.” Gerri said.

Z acknowledges getting rid of plastic bags is just the start for reducing waste, with New Zealand’s waste volume per capita being the second highest in the developed world.

“We know the country’s problem with plastic waste is far bigger than plastic bags. No longer providing plastic bags to customers is a good way to start attacking the problem and something many New Zealanders are keen to get on board with,” Gerri said.

Other measures Z has taken to reduce waste to landfill include:

• Rolling out easier-to-use modular recycling bins at 120 Z forecourts so far, to separate recycling and prevent it being tainted and sent to landfill.

• Introducing internationally certified, fully commercially compostable coffee cups and collection bins

• Returning milk containers used for coffee to the supplier for re-use

• Next on the agenda is removing plastic straws from Z service stations.

“Z has a long way to go, but small steps add up and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon,” Gerri said.

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