Plastic Bag Phase Out 1 July 2019

(Posted on: June 10)

Single-use plastic bags are set to be phased out in New Zealand with regulations to come into force from 1 July 2019. New Zealanders and local businesses alike are overwhelmingly behind the phase out and we want our future generations to have a sustainable environment in the Manawatū.

These new regulations will apply to all new single-use plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness.

This includes the light-weight plastic bags commonly found at supermarket, takeaway food and other retail checkouts, as well as heavier boutique-style shopping bags and the ‘emergency’ bags currently offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use bag.

It will also include bags fitting this description made of degradable plastic (ie. biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable) regardless of whether the plastic material is sourced from fossil-fuel, synthetic compounds or from biological sources such as plants.

With just a month left, we want to make sure that the public and businesses are aware and have alternatives set in place. The ban will affect all retailers, so even if your business is small, you will still be affected.

To help businesses be prepared, we recommend that businesses have reusable bags in store for customers to purchase, or that they provide cardboard boxes for the transportation of sold goods.

Manawatu District Council also wants to reiterate the importance of this phase out to the public. Everyone has a role to play whether it be through making the switch to multi-use bag options, storing reusable bags in your car, or carrying one on your person – these are simple ways to avoid any inconvenience.

We are aware that businesses may have a backload of plastic bags and can recommend using these as bin liners in stores or at home for employees.

Bags that will not be included in the ban are bags without handles such as bags used for containing meat and/or produce, bin liners, bags for pet waste, long-life multi-use shopping bags, bags made from bio-based materials that have not been converted to plastic and bags that form part of a products packaging.

For more information, visit the Ministry for the Environment’s website: