An Indian restaurant in Auckland has cut off the handles from its takeaway bags as a way to get around the ban on single-use plastic bags.

The ban came into effect on Monday, but plastic bags without handles and those that have already been used are exempt.

Paradise Indian takeaway, a popular biryani restaurant on Sandringham Rd, is continuing to serve its rice and curry takeaways in plastic carrier bags which have had the handles cut off.

Paradise restaurant is continuing to supply customers with single-use plastic bags after the ban, but with handles cut off. Photo / Michael Craig
Paradise restaurant is continuing to supply customers with single-use plastic bags after the ban, but with handles cut off. Photo / Michael Craig

Owner Rafi Mohammed said this was a "temporary measure" to clear about a pallet of plastic bags the restaurant still has.

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"Just to be clear, we are not doing this because we don't support the ban," Mohammed said.

"This is just to clear our remaining stock while waiting for our new environmental-friendly plastic bags to arrive."

Mohammed said he embraced the plastic bag ban but he still needed to clear his old stock.

"We support the plastic bag ban, it is good for the environment and our future," he said.

Paradise takeaway opened in April 2016 and is just a few doors away from the dine-in.

Mohammed said he expected the remaining bags to be cleared within three weeks before they are replaced with paper bags and reusable plastic carriers similar to the ones sold at supermarkets.

On Wednesday, the Herald purchased a lamb biryani from Paradise, which came in a plastic bag without handles.

A staff member said they had been told to cut the handles from the bags "because of the new rules".

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A customer, who did not want to be named, said he was happy that the takeaway was still using plastic bags with orders.

"Paper bags are good for the environment, but not very practical when you are buying curries," he said.

"If, by cutting the handles from the bags, Paradise is not breaking the law, then good on them."

Under the new law, retailers that sold or distributed new, handled, single-use plastic bags could face a fine of up to $100,000.

A Ministry for the Environment spokesman said cutting handles off banned single-use plastic bags "goes against the intent of the ban".

"We will follow-up any reports of this happening," he said.

"It is in the interests of everyone, and the environment, that the rules are fair and people follow them."

The Ministry has had 13 reports of non-compliance since the ban came into effect, and are in the process of assessing the information.

"Where necessary we will be contacting businesses reported to be supplying alleged banned plastic bags," the spokesman said.

"Reports are taken seriously, and we will work with businesses who we confirm are not complying with the law. We want to understand why the bags are being supplied and we want to help businesses do what's best for the environment."

He said the ban was in place to make New Zealanders think about what's best for the environment and to spark a change in habits.

"We hope businesses take a responsible approach in the alternatives they are providing customers," he added.

People are being urged to report to the Ministry if they observed the distribution of what they believe to be banned plastic bags.