It looks like a plastic bag, feels like a plastic bag, but one plastic bag that a Hawke's Bay retailer is distributing to others is good enough to beat the ban.
Napier's Hong Ke Long Asian Food shop manager Jarvis Guo says they have been supplying the not-banned plastic bags to takeaway stores in the region since the ban took effect on July 1.
Hawke's Bay Today came across the bag in O'Sushi when doing a sting on randomly selected takeaway stores in Hastings after the ban came into force.
Guo says the bags are re-usable plastic shopping bags more than 70 microns in thickness, which can be sold and distributed by retailers.
"We thought all bags [after the ban] would be made with paper, and you have to keep getting another one when you go shopping.
"We decided to market-test these plastic bags, which are 75 microns, by supplying a pack of 50 to takeaway stores.
"We provided all the information to them about the bags and about them being re-usable.
"We have now been supplying the bags to takeaway stores for almost a week."
The bags, which are supplied by Dunningham in Auckland, are resilient and can be used at least 10 times, Guo says.
"It is not easily breakable, it can be re-used and recycled.
"However customers are still a bit wary because it is still plastic and when they buy something from us they are not sure whether it is still okay.
"We promote the use of paper bags at checkout, but the re-usable bags are also an option."
An Ministry for the Environment spokesman said without seeing the bags in person they could not comment on whether they were okay to use.
Takeaway stores in Hastings seem to be complying with the plastic bag ban.
Of the five Hawke's Bay Today chose to buy from, four delivered their meals in paper bags, and one delivered their food in the reusable plastic bag.
However all of the containers of food inside the bags were made of plastic, which can no longer be recycled in Hastings.
Bollywood Stars Indian Tandoori Restaurant- paper bags
Sushi Club - paper bag
Noodle Canteen - paper bag
O' Sushi - reusable plastic bag
Deli Roasts- paper bags.
Q&A: The plastic bag ban
What is banned?
• Any type of plastic bag less than 70 microns in thickness, that's new or unused, has carry handles, is provided for carrying sold goods, and is made of bio-based materials like starch. It also covers bags made of plastics that are degradable, biodegradable or oxo-degradable.
Are there any exemptions?
• People will still be able to buy lightweight barrier bags, like the ones that you get in the deli or butchery, along with bin liners, pet waste bags and nappy bags. Also exempt are bags used in packaging, like bread bags and pouches for cooked chicken, for hygiene reasons.
How is it being enforced?
• Breaches could be enforced with fines, but the Government has pointed out that it wanted to focus more on working with businesses to encourage compliance. If the Ministry for the Environment received a complaint about a breach, officers would contact the business and work with them to find out why they hadn't stopped giving out banned bags. The ministry also planned to conduct random audits.
Why the ban?
• Estimates suggest that, over recent times, the average Kiwi had been using 154 single-use plastic shopping bags each year. That equated to around 750 million bags per year. Because of their lightweight nature plastic bags were easily transported by wind and water, contributing to ocean pollution. The Government has signalled the ban is the first step to tackling the "throwaway culture", and moving to a circular economy where little gets thrown out or wasted.