Customers shopping at Countdown Central Mall or Countdown Fairy Springs will soon have to bring their own shopping bags or purchase them in store.

The stores are among 42 Countdown stores countrywide that will be ceasing use of single-use plastic bags from tomorrow.

Countdown was the first supermarket in New Zealand to announce a move away from single-use plastic bags and will remove them from all stores by the end of 2018.

This will remove about 350 million plastic bags from circulation each year.


Rotorua Central Mall store manager Lisa Martin said, as a team, they were excited about the change.

"We actually had a visual countdown up on the wall for our customers, starting from 16 days out.

"Now we also have signage at the checkouts and a big banner out the front reminding people to bring their own bags."

Across the country, Countdown customers have already reduced their use of plastic bags by just over 16 per cent since they announced the change in November last year.

"Overall the reaction has been pretty positive and I think that's because our customers understand the damage plastic bags can do to the environment," Martin said.

She said staff were already noticing people bringing in their own bag alternatives.

For customers coming into the store, Martin said staff would pack their shopping in "anything".

"Any type of bag, even boxes."

The plastic bags currently being used will be replaced with paper bags, for those shopping online.

Countdown offers its own variations of reusable bags and Martin said the "Bag for Good" had been the most popular.

"It's $1 to buy the bag and if it breaks at all, people can bring it in and we will exchange it for a new one."

The damaged bags are then recycled in the soft plastic recycling bins in store.

The company has also recently introduced a 15c plastic bag which can be reused for more than 20 shops.

New World supermarkets, including New World Westend, support a programme called "Bags Not", encouraging people to say no to plastic bags, while Pak'nSave is testing a heavy-duty reusable plastic bag and paper grocery bags.