Whanganui's New World supermarket owner John Kelly isn't predicting which way BAGVOTE, a public vote on charging for checkout plastic bags, will go.

In an effort to reduce pollution, New World supermarkets are asking customers to vote on whether plastic bags should be free or whether a 5 or 10 cent charge for each plastic bag should be introduced.

If customers vote to pay for bags, New World will donate the proceeds from the bag charge to a variety of community and environmental causes.

"We've got posters in the store and flyers to hand out to customers so they know what's going on," Mr Kelly said.


"The feedback on the New World Facebook site shows people are keen to get rid of plastic bags but I'm not sure which way it will go. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks and get customers' feedback."

Mr Kelly said there had been a slight change in local customers' behaviour since New World introduced a 5 cent rebate for customers who bring their own bags for use at the checkout. The rebate will continue whatever the BAGVOTE outcome.

Foodstuffs New Zealand managing director Steve Anderson said the majority decision in BAGVOTE will rule "but regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to work on reducing plastic bag use, providing more reusable bag options and increasing soft plastics recycling".

Customers can vote online at www.bagvote.co.nz until midnight on October 8. New World will publish the results on October 10.