Countdown testing ten weeks without plastic produce bags

Countdown is trialling a ten week plastic reduction test across three of its stores that will see more than a tonne of plastic removed from its fruit and vegetable section.

Stores at Ōrewa, Ponsonby and Manukau have seen plastic produce bags removed, as well as specifically designed paper bags and cardboard packaging introduced while further encouraging customers to use reusable bags in the product section.

“What our customers in these stores will be experiencing is completely different to what they’ve seen before, and their feedback will be a hugely important part of our work to reduce plastic across the supermarket,” Countdown general manager of safety and sustainability Kiri Hannifin said. 

“While it might sound easy to change packaging, there is a complicated system behind the scenes to ensure that we can provide great quality, fresh food for every single one of those customers everyday.”

The supermarket chain intends to monitor myriad factors during the ten-week test period, such as food waste, and impact on team and suppliers. 

“Getting rid of plastic is something I hear a lot about from customers so it’s awesome to be able to give them some real and tangible changes,” said Countdown Ponsonby store manager Paul Maxwell.

“It’s going to take a bit of behaviour change from all of us all but from what I’ve seen this morning in my store, customers are really excited about giving it a go and are adapting really well already.”

According to Countdown, more than 800 customers provided feedback on Wednesday morning which will shape the test, and the supermarket chain’s sustainability efforts, moving forward. 


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