Free plastic shopping bags are back!

If you are old or poor or both.

But, what about the turtles?

Great news for the poor and the pensioners! You will soon be able to make a tidy income by getting free plastic shopping bags and discounting them to the ‘rich’ who would otherwise have to buy them at full price from the retailers anytime they go to the shops and forget to be eco-friendly. A warning though, it is not without risk …


The Government’s plastic bag ban could hit the poorest the hardest, according to advice from the Ministry for the Environment.

To mitigate this problem, the ministry recommended people with Gold and Community services cards receive reusable bags for free.

As of July 1, retailers will no longer be able to sell or give away single-use plastic shopping bags.

Instead, people will have to purchase reusable bags that are more than 70 microns thick.

This follows Cabinet’s decision last year to go ahead with a mandatory nationwide phase-out of single-use bags.

“Plastic shopping bags are a hazard for nature, particularly marine wildlife. They can also introduce harmful microplastics into the food chain,” Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said. end quote.

For some obscure reason it is only plastic bags that are less than 70 microns thick that choke turtles and break down into microplastics. Quote.

A regulatory impact assessment of the ban, written by the Ministry for the Environment, warned there was a risk it could impact on the poor the hardest.

“Requiring consumers to pay up-front for new multi-use shopping bags could disproportionately affect lower-income consumers,” the assessment said.

“This could be mitigated by retailers allowing consumers who have Gold Cards or Community Service Cards a discount or exceptions.”

The ministry also proposed partnering with food banks and different donors to distribute free multi-use bags with food parcels. End quote.

As someone peripherally involved with the local community foodbank, this is actually a significant issue. ‘Single-use’ shopping bags were used by donors to carry purchases home from the shop, then used again to carry the donated goods to the food bank and then used for a third time to distribute the food to the needy. Without a ready supply of these multi-use, ‘single-use’ bags life was very difficult over the busy Christmas period. Unintended consequences abound with the Coalition of Losers. Quote.

While the intention of the phase-out is to encourage a shift from single-use to multi-use methods of transporting sold goods, the Ministry said it was not possible to control how individual consumers will respond.

“If multi-use bags are not reused by the consumer to the design lifetime of the bags, net resource use may increase ? resulting in greater inefficiency and loss of resources, compared to the status quo.”

To mitigate this risk, the ministry suggested providing information on the benefits of reusable bags the consumers, as well as working with retailers and supermarkets. End quote.

You can spend as much money as you like trying to convince us that the benefits of a ban outweigh the practicality of the plastic shopping bags that we are used to. It won’t work as we simply do not accept state diktats about how we should live our lives.

How long before we get a Ministry of Plastic Bag Use to collate and monitor the obligatory monthly returns on our multi-use bag usage to ensure that we are getting the full design lifetime out of each bag before sending it to landfill recycling it? Will using one as a bin liner be able to be counted as it’s final lifetime use?

The impact assessment also showed that the majority of businesses which submitted on the ban’s proposal were in favour of a mandatory nationwide phase-out.

“Kmart submitted that banning single-use plastic shopping bags will reduce litter and plastic pollution, resulting in reduced impacts on wildlife and the environment.” End quote.

Yes, and I have a bridge to sell you. (Got a great deal from Christie) Changing the name of a useful free product, ‘check-out carry bag’ to “single-use” and then banning it and replacing it with a purchased bag that has a new name, ‘multi-use’, suddenly reduces the impact on wildlife and the environment. The impact on the bottom line was never a consideration when Kmart were crafting their submission. Honest! Quote.

In total, 62 per cent of businesses were in favour of the ban. […] End quote.

A Newspaper

Two words: Bottom line!

Naturally, those that currently carelessly toss their ‘single-use’ bags in the rivers and oceans, are going to guard these new thicker, harder-to-break-down, bags with their lives because they cost them nothing.

Yup, that’ll work.