New Zealand introduces ban on single-use plastics

After passing new laws in 2018, New Zealand has implemented a new, nation-wide policy that bans single-use plastic bags from the 1st July 2019.

According to New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment, the ban applies to "all new single-use plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness."

This covers most light-weight bags you would find in supermarkets, convenience stores or takeaway food retailers. The new laws also ban plastic bags often found at department stores.

The ban also includes bags made of degradable plastic - an important distinction, as degradable plastic still contributes to the mass of plastic waste finding its way into our oceans and even our food chains.

New Zealand becomes the latest nation in the region to introduce either national or regional bans on single-use plastics. Much of Australia has banned single-use plastics, with the two major supermarket retailers in the nation phasing out single-use plastic bags. Over 23 cities in Indonesia, and the tourist hotspot of Bali, have banned single-use plastics, while other measures are in place in Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere across Asia.

New Zealand's new laws will impose fines of up to NZ$100,000 on retailers who continue to distribute new single-use plastic bags. In the region, India can issue fines of up to $400 USD and jail sentences for retailers who continue to provide single-use plastic bags, while other nations in the world have also started issuing substantial fines, including in South Africa and Kenya.

Photo: Unsplash / Cristian Palmer

China's plastic waste ban has unearthed a massive problem with the global recycling system, and it needs to be fixed. Single-use plastics in particular are proving to be a huge problem for ecosystems around the world, especially our oceans. 

Developed nations in particular have to improve their capacity to recycle waste within their own nations, and curb companies exporting waste illegally, especially to developing nations. 


Climate change, increasing plastic waste and greenhouse gas emissions affects everyone, and Southeast Asia is one of the regions most affected. Keeping our environment safe and secure is integral to the future. MoveAsia focuses on the impact of climate change, what the region can do to tackle the climate crisis, and through the Ursus Project, we take a look at how we can tackle the burgeoning problem of plastic waste around the region, and its impact on our oceans and waterways.