For retailers who still have shopping bags left today, there are alternatives to sending them to landfill.
For oil based HDPE plastic bags Comspec a plastics recycler in Christchurch will accept plastic shopping bags as long as they are still boxed up. Robert Fowler, director of Comspec, says companies wishing to take up this option just need to pay the freight to get them delivered to his facility. There will be no extra charge for recycling. Visit their website for contact details.
Comspec will only accept unused, single-use plastic bags with carry handles, made from LDPE and under 70 microns in weight. This excludes biodegradable, oxo-degradable, degradable, or compostable plastic bags as they cannot be recycled or reused.
For retailers with smaller numbers of unused shopping bags it is legal for retailers to donate the bags as long as they are used as bin liners, and not carry bags. Retailers could approach community food banks, so the bags can be included in food parcels, for families needing support to use as bin liners at home. Otherwise, they could contact local animal welfare centres, who may be able to use the bags for disposing of pet litter or animal waste.
For retailers with large numbers of boxed compostable bags, if they are certified to AS 4736 please contact Jenny@wasteminz.org.nz for possible solutions.