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Plastics Industry supports bag reuse and recycling

Media Release –For Immediate Release
26th June 2007


Plastics Industry supports reuse and recycling of supermarket checkout bags

Plastics New Zealand encourages consumers to “Make a Difference” by thinking before they take a single trip checkout bag. The joint Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises campaign launched today, 26 June 2007, asks consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle.

As signatories to the 2004 Packaging Accord, Plastics New Zealand supports the responsible use of plastic shopping bags. “To reach the target to reduce plastic bags by 20% will need the supermarkets to pack more goods into each bag and offer reusable alternatives. It will require consumers to remember to take their reusable shopping bags back to the supermarket each time they shop. The AC Neilson research shows that consumers find this hard to do” says Ket Bradshaw, Environmental Manager for Plastics NZ.

Plastic bags are an efficient and responsible packaging option. Consumers need to weigh up the pros and cons of the various options available to them. The first priority is to REDUCE the amount of material placed into the environment and plastic wins there.

The second priority is to REUSE the packaging. Our research indicates that approximately 80% of the supermarket bags are reused. The AC Neilson research shows that two thirds of those surveyed use their supermarket bags for their rubbish and recycling, another 20% use them for kids things, nappy bags and dog droppings and the remainder for storage and as carrier bags.

This high reuse was also demonstrated in Ireland where a levy on supermarket bags resulted in a 50% increase in the purchase of kitchen rubbish liners. This means more plastic and resources are used because the plastic liners are thicker than supermarket bags.

The third priority is to RECYCLE. The Plastics Industry has been working to increase the amount of all plastic packaging recycled in New Zealand and this currently stands at 21% of the total plastic packaging used. Plastics New Zealand is working with councils to widen the kerbside collections to include plastic shopping bags and other plastic packaging.

Plastics New Zealand currently has over 200 member companies and is based on a representative committee structure. Member companies include plastic product manufacturers, recyclers, and suppliers of raw materials, machinery and services to the industry. The organisation represents over 75% of the New Zealand plastics industry which has a turnover in excess of $2 billion per year and employs more than 8000 people.

For further information on plastic shopping bags and alternatives please refer to our website www.plastics.org.nz

ENDS

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