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Bill 'bags' plastic bags

Bill 'bags' plastic bags

Green MP Mike Ward is marking World Environment Day tomorrow, by announcing a private member's bill introducing a levy on plastic bags.

"More than one billion plastic bags a year are used needlessly by New Zealanders, and most of them end up cluttering up our landfills," Mr Ward said.

"We don't need plastic bags - they are a luxury our environment cannot afford to sustain.

"World Environment Day is a great day for New Zealanders to think about how to better look after this brilliant planet of ours, to ensure it continues to nurture our children and grandchildren.

Mr Ward said he challenged all New Zealanders, on World Environment Day [5 June], to say 'no' to plastic bags at supermarkets and all other stores, as a first step in turning the tide of plastic bag waste.

The Green waste spokesperson said his planned Bill would bring in a levy for each plastic bag, which consumers would pay at point of sale.

"If shoppers want a plastic bag to carry their new CDs or groceries home, they would have to pay for each one. This is a levy no-one has to pay. You can take your own bag shopping.

"Ireland has a successful plastic bag levy scheme, which has slashed plastic bag use by 90 per cent. That's an outstanding result. It's time for New Zealand to follow suit and introduce a financial incentive for people to stop using plastic bags unnecessarily," Mr Ward said.

"The Government's partnership with industry, and piecemeal attempts by some retailers to address the plastic bag problem, have done nothing so far to curb the burgeoning mountain of packaging entering our landfills, and littering our coastlines and roadsides."

Mr Ward said the Green Party fully supported the 'Great Plastic Bag Mail-in', where New Zealanders are being encouraged to send their unwanted, clean, empty plastic bags to Environment Minister Marian Hobbs; with campaign organisers challenging the Minister to address the plastic bag problem.

The initiative, organised by the "Say No to Plastic Bags" campaign coincides with the Environment Ministry's "Reduce Your Rubbish Campaign", which the Green Party also supports.

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