We’ve gone reusable – our checkouts are single-use plastic bags free

We’re committed to doing our part to look after New Zealand – which is why New World removed single-use plastic shopping bags at checkout on 1 January 2019. This change means millions of single-use-plastic bags will no longer be at risk of cluttering our waterways or harming sea life. The Government thinks it’s a good idea too and has banned single-use plastic bags from 1 July 2019.

Please remember to bring your reusable shopping bags with you.

Forgot your bags?

If you’re caught short, we have back-up options to buy, including paper bags. There will be a small charge for these because they do cost more to produce, transport and store than single-use plastic bags. Plus, we genuinely want to discourage customers from buying these options, the best option for the environment is to bring your own long-life reusable bags.  

Top tips for remembering your bags:

We know building new habits isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. Here are some tips to help make reusable bags your new best habit.

  • Hang your bags on or near the front door handle, so you can grab them on the way out the door.
  • Put a reminder note in your car. Hang it from the rear-view mirror or stick it to the dashboard.
  • Keep a small foldable reusable bag inside your handbag, backpack, or satchel so you’ll always have one on hand.
  • Write ‘Bring Bags’ on the top of your shopping list.
  • Use the power of nagging and designate a chief “bag reminder-er”, such as your kids, flatmate, friend or partner.

Your online order will be packed in paper bags

I shop New World is our online shopping service available at New World stores across the North Island. When shopping online, your online order will be packed in paper bags, at a cost of 20c each, to a maximum charge of $1. It's the best solution we have available at the moment. We’ll continue to look into other options, and will keep you up to date on any news.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Why are you removing single-use plastic bag as an option?

We’re committed to doing our bit to reduce the amount of disposable single-use plastic polluting our environment. On top of that, we’ve received a lot of customer feedback that they simply don’t want them anymore. 

When are your stores going single-use plastic bag free?

We’re single-use plastic bag free from 1 January 2019. We’re celebrating the New Year by going reusable!

Why do you have a plastic alternative?

New habits take time. That’s why we’re offering our customers better alternatives, rather than offering them no alternative options. Our new reusable plastic bag (where available) can be reused more often than a single-use plastic bag and is stronger than a paper bag.

Our main goal is to help our customers use the best option available; their own long-life reusable bags.

Aren’t you just replacing plastic with plastic?

Our new reusable plastic bag (where available) is thicker, stronger, lasts longer and is 100% recyclable. That means it can be reused more often than a Single-use plastic bag and stronger than a paper bag.

We’re banking on YOU choosing to reuse this reusable plastic bag over and over again.

Each time you do, you reduce the number of single-use plastic bags entering our environment.

Paper bags aren’t good for the environment either! Why are you supporting deforestation?

We agree that paper bags are not the answer. We have chosen offer paper as a back-up alternative for shoppers if they forget their bags, because it is recyclable. But anything that can’t be used long-term is not the best option. Which is why we’re encouraging customers to bring their own bags, and to reuse their paper bags a couple of times. 

You’re making me feel guilty for not remembering my reusable bags?  That’s unfair!

We are sorry you feel that way – that’s certainly not our intention!  We’re all in this together and bags are definitely on their way out – so if you have any brilliant ideas for helping you remember to bring your reusable bags feel free to share them with us.

Will you still use a single-use plastic bag for raw chicken? Why will you still use barrier bags?

There are several items we recommend separating with a barrier bag from the rest of your groceries.  For example, raw chicken has harmful bacteria that will be removed by cooking however if transferred to ready to eat product there will be no heating to remove the bacteria.  Likewise, if the bacteria is transferred to a raw meat such as rump steak, the steak may not be heated to a temperature that will destroy the bacteria (i.e. some people prefer to eat rare steak while chicken must always be cooked to greater than 75°C).  

We offer free single-use-plastic barrier bags at checkout for this reason.  We are looking at alternatives which are not plastic. 

What about all the other plastic in your store?  What are you doing about that? 

Not all plastic is bad.  In fact, plastic packaging is often the most environmentally friendly way to package, protect and ship products around the world and New Zealand.  But, we do need to dispose of it in a considerate way – ideally reusing and recycling.

We are doing a lot however to reduce plastic waste:  

  • We’ve already removed micro-beads from our stores, replaced our meat trays made from 100% recycled plastic – which in turn are also recyclable, and now we’re on to cotton buds, straws and other products.
  • And we’re also looking at alternative packaging for produce, deli, wine, and bakery goods.  Every option needs to be evaluated for its sustainability and this is taking some time.  We have thousands of products in store which require repackaging – it’s a massive exercise, but we are giving this serious attention.
  • 100% of our retail and private label packaging will be either reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.  We will encourage other companies, including all suppliers, to do the same.
  • Some of our stores are changing their produce departments, introducing new systems to keep fruit and veges fresh
  • We’ve given away millions of reusable bags.
  • We’ve made more reusable bags available for sale, and we’ve expanded our support for the Soft Plastics Recycling program.  

What about the single-use plastic produce bags? 

Many of our customers have told ussingle-use-plastic produce bags are on their environmental radar. We’d all like to have an alternative to plastic bags for our fresh produce.  The existing plastic produce bags serve a couple of purposes – they protect fruit and soft veg from damage, keep things fresh and clean and allow our checkout operators to quickly identify the produce and weigh it. 

But, we’re currently investigating alternatives to the free single-use-plastic produce bag.  While it seems simple, it is a complicated challenge which requires in-depth investigation to ensure we get it right.  Rest assured we are working on how we address this as - like you - we are very keen to reduce excess packaging and waste.   We’ll provide an update as soon as we can.

In the meantime, you are more than welcome to use your own produce bags in store to pack your apples, spuds and fresh beetroot!

Why are you not offering a biodegradable bag? Or compostable bags?

Most so-called compostable or bio bags require proper composting environments to help them breakdown. Most Kiwi homes no longer have a compost heap or bin, especially in smaller homes or apartments.  If these bags end up in landfill they can release harmful greenhouse gases. Worst still, if they end up in our Soft Plastics Recycling collection bins they can corrupt the entire batch.

We’ve done a lot of research on how we might cause the least harm – and heavy duty plastic bags that can be recycled and reused came up on top.

In limited situations, like bin-liners, home compostable plastic bags cause less harm. That’s because if they aren’t composted at home, they go to the landfill and will not end up corrupting soft plastic recycling bins. 

Why are you charging for bags?

The new back-up bags we are offering cost more than single-use-plastic bags. We need to charge for these bags to cover the costs of production, warehousing and transportation. 

A charge also discourages people from using them.  We’d rather you use a long-life reusable bag for your groceries.

What will I use to line my bin?

We know that many of our customers have been using single-use plastic bags to line their bins.

Bin liners are available for purchase – and we’re exploring alternatives that will make the least environmental harm. But we encourage people to go plastic-bag free for their rubbish too! Our top tips:

  • Line your bin with newspaper instead.
  • Use newspaper to wrap up smelly wet rubbish.
  • Give your bin a rinse.
  • Reduce household waste as much as possible. Compost food waste (the main culprit of a smelly bin!) and recycle as much as possible. 

Can I bring my own containers for meal and deli products?

We’d love to say yes, but this comes with its own set of problems, mainly around health and well-being.  We are focusing on providing packaging that is recyclable or easily broken down.  Increasingly our deli and salad containers are recyclable.

We are trialling a BYO container project at the moment and will keep you up to date with any developments.

When are you getting rid of plastic straws?

We’re running down stocks of plastic straws with a view to moving entirely to alternatives later this year. We are very aware that some consumers, particularly those with disabilities, still need the option of a straw and we want to ensure this is available moving forward.

Can I recycle my polypropylene reusable bags –like the red carry bag?

Unfortunately not.  At the moment, there is no confirmed recycling solution for these bags. There may be one in the future, and when that time comes, we’ll let you know. 

Where do the soft plastics go?

They are collected and reprocessed both in Australia and in New Zealand.  The clever people who process them make everything from park bench seats like the one New World recently donated to Whale Watch Kaikoura, to bollards, bins and fence posts.

When can we get a soft plastics recycling bin in this store?

We’re working as fast as we can on this, but we will not be expanding further until we have an established processor for the volume of the material that we generate.

We will update when we can.

What about till receipts?  When can I stop getting those?

All our staffed check outs now have the ability to not print a receipt if you don’t require one (under the value of $40), just tell the operator before the end of the transaction that you don’t want them to print the receipt.

We’re working on a solution for our self-checkout that will be available shortly.

If I buy a long-life reusable bag in the North Island, will you give me a 5¢ bag rebate every time I bring them back to New World and use them for my shopping?

We highly recommend you switch to long-life reusable bags.  You can buy a New World red, long-life reusable bag for $1. 

We’ll be offering the bag rebate in the North Island until the end of 2018 to encourage all of our customers to BYO bags, because reusing long-life bags as many times as you can, is the best option for the environment.


Why can’t you use reusable bags for online shopping via I shop New World?
Unfortunately, we don’t have the infrastructure to store and clean reusable bags for online shops that eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. We take the health and safety of our customers seriously, that’s why we can’t offer this option.