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Banning single use plastics

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NZ Plastic Bans: What it Means for You and Your Alternatives to Plastic

On the road to a more eco-friendly country, the government is banning a number of plastic items that are hard to recycle or completely unnecessary. You might need to make some changes.

The changes started in October 2022, with easily-replaceable or completely unneeded items like plastic-stemmed cotton buds. Now, from 1 July 2023, there’s more changes. These are a bit trickier for many retailers.

Already Banned Plastics in NZ

From 1 October 2022, a range of plastic items were banned. This included:

  • Cotton buds with plastic stems
  • Plastic drink-stirrers
  • Plastics containing pro-degradant additives
  • Some PVC food trays
  • Some polystyrene takeaway containers

These were all easy-to-replace items and didn’t require a great deal of changes from the general public or retailers. But now, the next round of bans are coming into place in 1 July 2023 and these might require more thought and planning.

Banned Plastics July 2023
  • Single use plastic produce bags
  • Single use plastic drinking straws (although some disabled people or those with specific health needs can still access them)
  • Single use plastic tableware and cutlery
  • Plastic produce labels (those annoying apple stickers). The industry is creating a compostable version which can be discarded in any home or commercial compost, and should be transitioned over by 2025.

Once again, these changes are basic, and there are easy alternatives, like biodegradable tableware and cutlery.

However, as a retailer, you still need to supply bag/ carrying options for those in your store. While many Kiwis have reusable cloth bags, there are always people who forget, and other people such as tourists who may not be carrying reusable bags.

Here at Mills Display, we want to make your business compliant, and help your customers buy everything they need easily. We have a few options to help.

Single Use Produce Bag Replacements

Brown paper bags, while more expensive than single use plastic, are the best option available. We have three sizes, all of which are constructed using a strong 80gsm paper:

We also have mushroom bag holders, great for holding brown paper bags close to the produce, so people can easily find the bags close at hand. We have coated wire bag holders, landscape/ horizontal polycarbonate bag holders, and portrait/ vertical bag holders.

Up Your Basket Game

It’s amazing how many shopping baskets get broken, or simply walk out the door. People love the convenience of baskets, and it’s frustrating when shoppers go to grab one and it’s not there.

Ensure you have a big supply of baskets, and that they are branded to avoid theft (intentional or not). We have a range of sizes, colours, and styles to choose from.

The standard shopping baskets can also be made from recycled plastic, but minimum order quantities do apply. Contact us to find out more about these.

Next Steps in Mid 2023

It’s also time to look forward to the next steps. In 2023, you can anticipate most PVC/ rigid polystyrene being removed from the market. This means things like polystyrene pottles and PVC biscuit trays get the boot.

Don’t Muck Around, Get Ahead of the Game

If you don’t comply with the government’s new regulations, there are penalties for continued disregard for the rules. These fines can be up to $10,000 per offence.

Your job is to enable customers to buy what they want, with as few barriers to purchase as possible. The businesses that make it easy for their customers to buy things will get more customers. You want to be well organised so by the time these changes become law, you’ve already transitioned to more sustainable and eco-positive practices.

Whether you need brown paper bags for this round of changes, or you need to start assessing options for future changes, Mills Display can help.


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