Unused Plastic Bag Recycling Programme

Waste Minimisation

Timaru District Council is working with other Canterbury councils to collect all unused plastic bags from retailers and charity shops once the Waste Minimisation (Plastic Shopping Bags) Regulations 2018 that came into effect on Monday 1 July 2019. From this date, all single-use plastic bags should not be provided to customers for the purpose of carrying or distributing sold goods.

This collection campaign is running from Monday 1 July until Friday 2 August 2019.

Councils throughout the Canterbury region are working collaboratively to prevent any large stocks of unused bags being sent to landfills. These bags will be collected and sent for processing to a plastic recycling company. This will contribute to the circular economy model that the Ministry for the Environment has adopted for waste management, and aligns to the goals and objectives of Council’s Waste Minimisation and Management Plan.

All retailers and charity shops that have unused stocks of single-use plastic bags that meet the following criteria can be dropped off at the collection point at any Council Transfer Station during normal business hours and bring identification for proof of business status.

The bags must:

  • Be made of low density polyethylene (LDPE) less than 70 microns thick, AND
  • Have carry handles (including die cut handles), AND
  • Be new or unused with no contamination.

Household plastic bags are not included in this campaign and will not be accepted at the collection point.

Because these are going to be recycled, no bags made from bio-based materials such as starch or plastic designed to be degradable, biodegradable or oxo-degradable can be included in this collection campaign. These types of bags are not recyclable with the current technology used to process LDPE plastic bags. However, these bags are included in the plastic bag ban and should not be given to customers for the purpose of carrying or distributing goods in accordance with the regulations.

For more information, please go to the Ministry for the Environment’s website: https://www.mfe.govt.nz/waste/single-use-plastic-shopping-bag-ban/toolkit-for-businesses

Council thanks retailers and the community for working to reduce plastic waste in the environment.

Publish Date: 27 Jun 2019