Australia is leading the way again.
The Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Bill was passed into law in November 2008, and will be phased in between January and May 2009.
This is a landmark decision and one the New Zealand government should introduce.
There are many retailers who are already heading in that direction. The supermarkets are trying to do their bit (perhaps not fast enough) by encouraging the use of recyclable shopping bags. And many small retailers will not offer you a bag after a purchase – On Yer Bike in Wellington is one.
For years we have been treated to American sitcoms where actors visit a supermarket and then load/unload their SUVs with large paper shopping bags. What they saved in plastic waste they doubled in using fossil fuels driving gas-guzzlers to buy the goods – but it always looks good. Groceries carried one bag at a time in a paper bag – perhaps not practical in Wellington where most need to walk up to their houses, but we’ll get over it.