New Zealand becomes first country to ban single-use produce bags at grocery stores

New Zealand has become the first country to ban single-use produce bags at supermarkets which went into effect on July 1.

The big picture: New Zealand’s measure is expected to eliminate 150 million plastic produce bags from circulation each year.
* The ban not only focuses on single-use plastic bags, but also prohibits the use of recyclable, biodegradable, or plant-based plastic for fruits and vegetables. Customers are encouraged to bring mesh, paper or canvas bags.

Looking globally: Various countries are slowly moving away from single-use plastic bags by either imposing fees or banning them completely.
* The United Nations Environment Assembly is focusing on creating an international plan to end plastic pollution by the end of 2024.
* As of 2021, eight U.S. states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont — have laws forbidding stores from providing single-use plastic shopping bags.

Additional measures in New Zealand: The latest initiative isn’t the only plastic restriction in New Zealand.
* The country banned the manufacture, sale, and distribution of single-use dishes such as plates, bowls and cutlery.
* Stores are only allowed to offer single-use plastic straws to people with disabilities or health needs.

View original article on NPR

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