As the move against plastic bags sweeps New Zealand, a national chain has riled customers over the compulsary use of the bags.

More shoppers are choosing to use reusable bags, and supermarket chains New World and Countdown last year announced they would be getting rid of single-use plastic bags.

But after shopping at Save Mart over the weekend, Napier resident Hanna Robertson was surprised to be told she could not leave without her items in a plastic bag.

Robertson, who made a point of not using bags, had only bought three items, and asked to carry them out of the store with the receipt. But she was told company policy was that bags had to be used, and had to be double knotted.


"There were all these people walking out with their bags and, when they get home, they have to rip them open and not be able to reuse them," she said. "They were new, not recycled bags."

This policy seemed at odds with the store being home to recycled items of clothing.

"There's so much awareness growing about single-use plastic," she said. "Surely there must be some alternative rather than single-use, new plastic bags."

Yesterday a Save Mart spokeswoman said the policy aimed to prevent theft. The company did issue receipts, but "we can't police every customer".

"We get a lot of people stealing. We have tried other things but they don't work. It's the few ruining it for the rest."

She said the company was looking at different ways of bagging items - such as using paper - but "at the moment plastic bags are what we have".

"I know plastic bags are bad in this day and age, but there are a few ways of recycling soft plastics."

Two Hawke's Bay councils are seeking public input on the draft Joint Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (WMMP), which they have to review every six years.


Staff from Hastings District and Napier City council are visiting Napier Pak 'n' Save today, Napier Countdown tomorrow, and Greenmeadows New World on Friday and will have stalls at the International Cultures Day, and the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market on Sunday.

Consultation is open until Friday, March 23. Submissions will be heard in April, and both councils are due to complete the review by the end of June.

The draft joint plan is available at, in the Napier and Hastings libraries, or at the council offices. Submissions can be made at or via the consultation document form mailed to all households.