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A good move for New Zealand

We’ve stopped using single-use plastic carrier bags at all Countdown checkouts and in our online shopping service, which means that 350 million of these plastic bags will no longer find their way to landfill, or worse, to our waterways and oceans.

What does this mean for you?
Online orders will now be packed into paper bags.*

We trialled a number of alternatives for online shopping and think paper bags are the best option we currently have available. They’re recyclable, can break down easily in marine environments and you can also return them to our delivery drivers if you’d like us to recycle them for you.

If you do come in-store to shop we’d love it if you brought your own bags - but if you forget, don’t worry. We’ve got plenty of options available at checkout.

*Excluding online orders from Countdown Waiheke and Countdown Trafalgar Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why aren’t you using single-use plastic carrier bags with my online shopping anymore?
  • Countdown was the first supermarket in New Zealand to become single-use plastic carrier bag free on 15 October 2018. This will remove around 350 million plastic bags from circulation each year.
  • Our online customers had been telling us for a while that they wanted us to minimise plastic in their online shop with us and we are pleased to be able to start by removing the carrier bags.
  • We’ve trialled a number of different options for our online shopping service and believe that paper bags are the most workable, environmentally responsible option that we currently have available.
Do the paper bags get soggy or wet when chilled or frozen items are packed in them?
  • We’ve tested these bags in both the chiller and freezer and they worked well under these conditions.
Are the bags reusable?
  • You can reuse the paper bags if you wish.
  • The bags can be recycled with your kerbside recycling or returned to our delivery drivers to recycle for you.
  • We will pack each online order into new paper bags.
Is there any cost for the paper bags?
  • We’re not currently charging for paper bags as we’re assessing how paper bags work for this part of our business. However, this may change as we continue to trial alternatives and improve our service.
Aren’t paper bags just as bad for the environment because they are resource intensive to make?
  • One of the main issues with plastic is the impact plastic pollution has on our marine environment. While paper isn't perfect, we think it's less harmful to our oceans and waterways than anything else we currently have available as it easily breaks down.
  • The paper bags we are using are also 100% recyclable.
  • As alternative, sustainable products are developed we will consider introducing them in to our stores and online service, but at this stage paper is the best option available.
Are the paper bags you are using FSC certified?
  • We’re working on sourcing an FSC certified paper bag and hope to have these in stores soon.
Why are some of my groceries still packed in plastic carrier bags?
  • For food safety reasons items such as meat, fruit and cleaning products may need to be packed in a small plastic barrier bag. Barrier bags help to reduce the spread of bacteria, minimise potential spills and serve to separate potentially toxic items from food.
  • We are looking at whether we can find an alternative that could do the same job.
How many single-use plastic bags are now not being used?
  • Countdown currently provides 350 million single-use plastic bags a year to our customers, which is approximately one million a year for every store. We’re already underway with phasing these out as we think it’s the right thing to do for the New Zealand environment.
Can I use my own reusable shopping bags?
  • If you purchase a $1 Bag for Good at the same time as your order (or any other reusable bags we sell), we can pack your online order into this, however we cannot re-use these bags so you’d need to re-purchase bags with your next order.
Why can’t banana boxes, plastic crates or compostable bags be used instead?
  • We’ve taken a look at a range of options like banana boxes, crates, swap-a-bags and compostable bags but at this stage we think reusable bags are the best option for our checkouts and paper bags are the best option currently available for online.
What if I don't want my order packed in paper bags?
  • We know this is a big change for customers and we’re keen to help make that change as easy as possible. You are welcome to request a box and we will do our best to accommodate this if we can.
Why aren’t you offering paper bags in your stores?
  • While we think paper bags are currently the best option for online, we still believe reusable bags are the best option for our in store customers’ groceries and we want to help our customers get into the habit of reusing bags.