Customers in New Zealand already are expected to bring their own shopping bags to grocery stores. Now they will also be asked to carry their own reusable bags for fruit and vegetables. This makes New Zealand the first country in the world to ban single-use plastic produce bags at supermarkets. The measure went into effect on July 1, 2023. New Zealand Secretary for the Environment James Palmer anticipates that the new ban will eliminate 150 million plastic produce bags from circulation every year. “That’s 17,000 plastic bags, every hour,” Palmer said. The country is also banning 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.

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