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Sustainability

03/07/2017 - Sustainability

Christchurch anti-plastic bag campaign

On International Plastic Bag Free Day, a Canterbury Retailer has introduced a voluntary plastic bag levy to encourage customers to think twice before taking a bag.

At 14 Z service stations during July, customers will be asked if they need a bag and if they'd like to donate 10 cents for each bag to the charity, Sustainable Coastlines, which cleans up New Zealand’s coastlines and waterways.

Canterbury Retailer, Anton Hutton, who operates the 14 Christchurch sites, says as a father of two young children, an initiative to reduce the use of plastic bags felt like the right thing to do.

Anton on clean-up at New Brighton beach

“Single-use plastic bags are having a massive ecological impact on our world. Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year and we can all make a difference to stop this tide of waste.

“My 14 Z sites alone give out around 52,000 single-use plastic bags to customers every year,” Anton said.

Anton acknowledges the move is a small step towards change but reckons environmental sustainability is about everyone making small changes that together make a difference.

“When we ask for a donation for a plastic bag it starts a discussion. It makes people think about if they really need a bag. And, if they do take one, it goes to a good environmental cause,” Anton said.

Z is using the initiative as a pilot to measure if the move reduces plastic bag usage. The company will then look at how the scheme could be tweaked and rolled out to other Z service stations around the country.

Z Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, says Z customers nationwide use around two million plastic bags every year.

“We’re committed to working with our customers to contribute to reducing the millions of plastic bags that shoppers around the world use every year,” Gerri said.