Tips for retailers

  • Offer reusable bag options such as PPE, calico and paper bags for sale at the checkout, so that they are visible.
  • Train staff to ask customers "do you need a bag?" with their purchase.
  • Educate staff to promote reusable bag options to all customers by saying, "would you like to buy a reusable bag?"
  • Put a reward or incentive scheme in place, so that each time a customer uses their own bags, give them a small discount, or a rewards scheme point
  • Put plastic bag reduction posters and reusable bags near check-out tills. Pictures of animals caught up in plastic bags are a very effective way to get people to use reusable bags instead of plastic.
  • Create local PR. Instead of giving away a free plastic bag - charge 20 cents per plastic check-out bag and give the proceeds to local charities or environmental projects. Many stores have done this - Bunnings, for example, charge 10 Aus. cents per plastic check-out bag.
  • Ban plastic check-out bags altogether! Replace them with paper and reusable bags. Whole towns such as Collingwood - Golden Bay, New Zealand and Coles Bay, Kangaroo Valley, Huskisson and Oyster Bay in NSW and Birregurra, Cannon's Creek, Murtoa and Metung in Victoria are already plastic bag free communities in Australia.

Benefits of reducing Plastic Check-Out bags in your retail outlet:

  • You stand to save on the cost of plastic bags. The retail industry in New Zealand currently spends NZ$25 million a year giving away 'free' plastic bags at a cost to their businesses. These savings can be passed on to your customers, which can only result in you becoming more competitive.
  • You get to sell reusable bags on which you can make money.
  • You can create some great local PR by contacting your local newspaper and radio station to let them know that you are taking action to reduce the  1 billion of plastic check-out bags used by New Zealanders every year.
  • You will help to reduce the numbers of wildlife that are injured or killed by plastic bags every year.
  • As a NZ retailer you now have to reduce your plastic check-out bag usage by the end of 2008. This is based on a voluntary agreement in the 2004 Packaging Accord. You can be at the forefront of this change.