New Zealand Bans All Single-Use Plastic Bags

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New Zealand is the first country to ban all single-use plastic bags at grocery stores. While the country already banned new single use plastic bags, this measure bans “recyclable, biodegradable [and] plant-based plastic” bags.  

Shoppers are expected to bring their own reusable bags made from mesh, canvas, or paper.

The ban went into effect on July 1, 2023 and is expected to prevent 150 million new plastic bags from being circulated annually. New Zealand has “also banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of single-use plates, bowls and cutlery, and stores will only be allowed to offer single-use plastic straws to people with disabilities or health needs,” according to NPR journalist Juliana Kim. 

Discussion Questions

1. Should single-use plastic items, such as produce bags or water bottles, be banned? Why or why not?

2. Should alternatives to plastic items be provided by the stores? If yes, what alternatives? If no, why not?

3. Make a list of single-use plastic products and whether you believe they should be banned. What impact would this have on the environment, on individuals (consider people with disabilities and low-incomes, among others), and on society? Explain your answer(s).


Juliana Kim, “New Zealand Becomes First Country to Ban Single-Use Produce Bags at Grocery Stores,”, July 3, 2023