Countdown supermarkets will join the soft plastics recycling programme announced by Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith and the Packaging Forum today.
Countdown welcomes the industry-led initiative which will mean customers can return plastic bags to participating stores after use, and they will be collected for recycling, and turned into useful public goods, like children’s playground equipment. Countdown will roll out a trial in its Hamilton stores first.
General Manager of Strategy and Corporate Affairs Richard Manaton, says: “We know Kiwis are concerned about plastic bags littering the environment rather than being recycled. Countdown has a strong focus on waste reduction and we’re eager to be a part of this trial.
“The strength of this programme is that it includes all those involved in the life-cycle of plastic packaging, the manufacturers, distributors and consumers.”
“We’ll hopefully see this programme rolled out to more than 70 per cent of New Zealand over the next three years,” says Mr Manaton.
For many years Countdown has given customers alternatives to plastic bags, including the option to bring their own reusable bags or purchase reusable bags in store. Countdown will continue to encourage customers to use reusable bags in its stores too.
Since 2006, Countdown has been focused on improving sustainability. In that time Countdown’s retail space has increased 33 per cent, yet the business has reduced waste to landfill by 42 per cent and increased recycling by 25 per cent.