All Z service stations will be free of single use customer plastic bags by June 2018, as the company responds to a groundswell of support from Kiwis for eliminating New Zealand’s dependency on plastic bags.
According to a recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 – the amount of plastic will literally outweigh fish. Worryingly, there’s also evidence that fish ingest plastic mistaking it for food, and the effect of this on human health is still unknown.
As part of Z’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Z has started encouraging less use of plastic bags, and from June 2018, will have no plastic bags available at sites at all.
Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said that going plastic bag free was the right thing to do.
“We may be a fuel company, but we’re determined to be at the heart of the sustainability solution, and doing something simple like no longer having plastic bags available seems like another small but meaningful step towards a better future. We will take the two and a half million plastic bags we give out each year completely out of circulation.
“Plastic bags take around 1000 years to degrade, and even then they never disappear completely.
“Even worse, 10 per cent of all dead animals found in beach clean-ups are entangled in plastic bags,” says Gerri.
Plastic bags are not the only thing Z is taking action on. The company is in the process of rolling out new modular forecourt recycling bins at 115 Z sites.
“What we’ve found with the existing bins was that a lot of recycling was getting tainted and had to be thrown into landfill.
“The new modular forecourt bins separate out customers’ different recycling materials, and will better support customers to recycle,” says Gerri.
Gerri says that New Zealand’s waste volume per capita is the second highest in the developed world and more than double the average.
As part of the push to reduce waste to landfill, Z also introduced internationally certified compostable coffee cups late last year. This means that instead of 4.5 million coffee cups going to landfill each year, customers can now drop them in Z’s collection bins at Z Espress sites instead.
“Everything we’re doing is all about small steps adding up to giant strides. We have a long way to go, but we keep gaining momentum and we don’t intend to stop anytime soon,” says Gerri.