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New Zealand becomes first country to ban plastic produce bags

Introduction

New Zealand has taken a momentous step towards reducing plastic waste by becoming the first country to implement a complete ban on thin plastic bags commonly used in supermarkets for fruit and vegetable purchases. Moreover, this move will extend beyond bags, as it also includes banning of plastic straws and silverware. This significant move aligns with the government’s ongoing campaign against single-use plastics, which began in 2019 with the prohibition of thicker plastic shopping bags.

New Zealand’s Fight Against Plastic

Since 2019, New Zealand has been actively promoting sustainable practices and combatting plastic pollution. The initial ban on thicker plastic shopping bags was a significant step towards reducing plastic waste and encouraging the use of reusable alternatives. Building upon this success, the government has now expanded the campaign to target additional single-use plastics, including thin plastic bags, straws and silverware.

Progress made up until now

New Zealand always had a significant problem regarding the excessive generation of plastic waste, which requires urgent attention and effective solutions. The 2019 bag ban alone prevented over 1 billion plastic bags from being used in the country. With the addition of the ban on thin bags, an estimated reduction of 150 million bags per year is expected. The focus of government is to reduce all forms of single-use packaging and to encourage people to bring their own bags while supermarkets are selling reusable produce bags.

Impact on Environment

Lightweight bags, typically used to collect fruits and vegetables at supermarkets, have detrimental effects on the environment. It contributes to the escalating problem of plastic pollution worldwide. By banning their production and distribution, New Zealand has become the first country to outlaw the use of plastic bags. The country aims to significantly curb plastic waste and promote sustainable alternatives.

Imortant takeaways for competitive examination

  • Prime Minister of New Zealand is Chris Hipkins
  • Rachel Brooking is the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries of New Zealand

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