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Say no to plastic bags

5 June 2003 Media Statement

Say no to plastic bags

The Reduce Your Rubbish Campaign, run by the Ministry for the Environment in conjunction with regional councils, is calling on people to say no to plastic bags.

"The message is, if you don't need it, don't take it. It's a simple step that every New Zealander can take to help solve this issue," Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said.

The campaign has been well supported by Progressive Enterprises, which operates Foodtown, Woolworths and other supermarkets, through its highly successful 'Pack 7' campaign.

"I am aware that there is strong community support for action on reducing plastic shopping bags," Marian Hobbs said. "Campaigns such as Reduce Your Rubbish and Pack 7 are just one way we can reduce the amount of packaging waste we produce, use and send to landfills.

"These campaigns are working alongside policy initiatives. The government is promoting the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility through the New Zealand Waste Strategy and the current renegotiation of the New Zealand Packaged Goods Accord."

Plastic bags are one of the packaging items being dealt with by the retailing groups, as parties to the accord.

Marian Hobbs also welcomed new ideas and initiatives on how to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.

"The government is aware of recent successful developments in Ireland with a levy on plastic bags, and in Australia," she said.

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, recently announced that if the industry did not adequately commit to targets to drastically reduce plastic bag numbers environment ministers would pursue mandatory measures.

"I am watching with real interest to see how those initiatives develop and if there are lessons for New Zealand from such approaches," Marian Hobbs said.


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