New Zealand becomes first country in the world to outlaw single-use plastic bags 1 year ago

New Zealand becomes first country in the world to outlaw single-use plastic bags

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says they will be phased out over the next year.

New Zealand has banned single-use plastic shopping bags, with plans to rid the country of them entirely in the next year, according to their government.

Plans to phase out the current supply have been put in place, with retailers and businesses across the country have being given six months to deplete their stocks. Those who are caught with single-use plastic bags after that time will be fined NZ$100,000 (€57,808).

The move is in an attempt to promote greener living and encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.

“We’re phasing out single-use plastic bags so we can better look after our environment and safeguard New Zealand’s clean, green reputation,” said Jacinda Ardern, the country's prime minister.

38-year-old Ardern, who recently became only the second leader in the world to give birth while in office, also spoke about the effects of the "hundreds of millions" of disposable plastic bags New Zealand uses every year during Friday's announcement.

"A mountain of bags, many of which end up polluting our precious coastal and marine environments and cause serious harm to all kinds of marine life, and all of this when there are viable alternatives for consumers and business.

“It’s also the biggest single subject schoolchildren write to me about,” she said.

Ardern also cited a recent petition which was signed by 65,000 people who called for the ban.

Details of the plastic ban were not announced at Friday's meeting, however, Ardern saying they would be discussed over the next month.

Meanwhile, Ireland is "completely off course" in terms of emissions reduction targets, as greenhouse gas emissions are rising instead of falling.

A recent report published by the Climate Change Advisory Council revealed that without urgent action, "Ireland is unlikely to deliver on national, EU and international obligations".

Emissions in 2016 were 62 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.